Despite positive news with Hamilton’s COVID-19 vaccination efforts which ramp up next week, the city’s emergency operations centre (EOC) boss says current case metrics are not great signs for staying out of another lockdown amid the pandemic.
EOC director Paul Johnson says recent bumps in a number of key epidemiological measurements, including case rates, the reproductive numbers and the number of active outbreaks, could put staying in the ‘red – control’ level of the province’s COVID-19 response framework at risk.
“So it is concerning,” Johnson said in an update on Friday.
“We’ve seen a steady growth in that number per 100,000 and the reproductive number, that was just released based on seven days yesterday, still shows that we’re above one and that also isn’t a great indicator.”
The city’s weekly rate of new cases per 100,000 population checked in at 68 as of March 12, which’s 28 above the 39.9 per 100,000 threshold set by the province for a move out of the ‘red’ category into the ‘orange – restrict’ level.
More than 300 cases are tied to the 28 facilities currently experiencing outbreaks, while an acute occupancy rate of 96 per cent at Hamilton Health Sciences (HHS) hospitals may not bode well for avoiding a return to the ‘grey-lockdown’ category the city shook off on Feb. 16.
“Whether Hamilton has to go there (into lockdown), or needs to go there, will depend on our actions and exactly how those cases and numbers look as we as we go forward,” said Johnson.
Hamilton reports 78 new COVID-19 cases, 2 new deaths
Hamilton reported 78 new COVID-19 cases on Friday as well as two more virus-related deaths.
The individuals who died were both in their 60s, not tied to any city-reported outbreak.
There have now been 293 local deaths attributed to the pandemic.
The city also saw another jump in variant cases with 20 more recorded on Friday. There are 195 variant cases as of March 12 with only five recognized as the B.1.1.7 variant that first emerged in the U.K.
There are no confirmed cases for any of the other variants of the coronavirus.
DHL Logistics in Mount Hope and Hamilton General’s Unit 5 West were added to the list of entities that have recorded at least one variant case amid an outbreak.
Three others, Electromart Inc. on Brampton Street, AbleLiving Services York Supportive Housing and the West 5th campus of St. Joe’s hospital, have also recorded at least one variant case.
There was just one new outbreak reported in the city on Thursday at the Notre Dame House Youth Shelter in downtown. The surge involves just one case in a staff member.
An outbreak at the Good Shepherd’s Mary’s Place shelter was declared over on Thursday. The surge lasted 16 days and involved three cases among patrons.
Seven seniors’ homes, six shelters, five schools and two hospitals are among the 28 outbreaks public health is monitoring as of Friday.
Active cases were up by 36 day over day to 490 as of March 12.
Public health says 45 per cent (248) of the city’s 552 new cases in the last 10 days involve people under the age of 29.
Halton reports 45 new COVID-19 cases, 7 new variant cases
Halton Region reported 45 new COVID-19 cases on Friday and seven new variant cases.
Public health says there are now 189 possible variant cases as of March 12, with 21 confirmed.
The region has had 9,914 total coronavirus cases since the pandemic began.
Halton has 20 active outbreaks that include 68 cases from two long-term care homes and 87 cases from two retirement homes.
The region reported no new deaths on Friday. Halton has had 198 virus-related deaths since the pandemic began.
Halton’s seven-day moving case average went up day over day from 40.0 as of March 11 to 42.7 on Friday.
So far, public health has administered 40,922 COVID-19 vaccines as of Thursday. Close to 11,000 doses have been given out by mobile teams, just over 28,000 from fixed clinics and about 1,200 at community sites as of March 11.
Niagara reports 28 new COVID-19 cases, two new deaths
Niagara public health reported 28 new COVID-19 cases on Friday and for the second day in a row, a pair of deaths.
The region has now had 8,865 total coronavirus cases and 373 deaths since the pandemic began.
For the eighth day in a row, active cases were up. The region has 240 total active cases with Niagara Falls having the most at 53.
Niagara’s seven-day rolling new case average per 100,000 is at 25.25 as of March 12.
Public health says it’s dealing with 23 active outbreaks with three at retirement homes and one at a long-term care home.
The region added 14 new variant cases on Friday surpassing the century mark with 103.
Four of the cases have been identified as the B.1.1.7 variant. There are no confirmed cases for any of the other subtypes of the coronavirus.
Public health has administered close to 13,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccines in Niagara as of March 11.
Haldimand Norfolk reports five new COVID-19 cases
Haldimand Norfolk reported five new coronavirus cases on Friday with no increase in active cases, which remain at 41.
Both counties have accounted for 1,484 total COVID-19 cases amid the pandemic and 39 deaths.
Over 11,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccines have been administered in both counties combined as of March 12, with about 1,600 people having completed their series of shots.
Brant County reports 9 new COVID-19 cases
The Brant County Health Unit reported nine new COVID-19 cases on Friday with active cases up for the fifth day in a row by two, for a total of 61 as of March 12.
An outbreak at the John Noble long-term care home was declared over on Thursday. Over 14 days, the home had just one case among a staff member.
Public health is now managing four active outbreaks in the community at a nursing home, two schools and one workplace.
The county has had 1,570 coronavirus cases and 12 virus-related deaths since the pandemic began last year.
The region added two more variant cases on Friday. The county now has 13 variant cases with none having their lineage classified.
Public health says close to 14,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccines have been administered in Brant County with more than 2,500 people having completed their vaccinations as of March 11.View link »