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Hamilton closes outbreak at Macassa Lodge, suggests start of third COVID-19 wave in Ontario

Health Canada has released a warning about masks containing graphene. Global News Hamilton

A number of regional medical officers of health are suggesting the province may now be at “the beginning” of the third wave  of the COVID-19 pandemic citing rising numbers among variant-of-concern (VOC) cases and admissions to intensive care units.

Hamilton’s medical officer Dr. Elizabeth Richardson responded to the Ontario Hospital Association’s (OHA) decree on Monday that third wave is here, using data from the Ontario Science Table estimating that VOC cases represent 49 per cent of cases as of Monday.

It is the beginning of another wave, I would say, and it’s just how big that wave is going to be based on whether people are following those measures and whether or not people are able to get vaccinated, ” Richardson said.

Read more: Ontario reports 1,268 new coronavirus cases, 9 more deaths

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On Monday, the province’s chief medical officer of health Dr. David Williams said Ontario is at the “base of a third wave” and that how big it will get is “to be determined.”

Niagara’s acting medical officer of health suggested the provincial data points to a third lockdown with ICU patients across the province averaging around 300, almost twice the 150 public health set as a “danger level” during the pandemic.

“So the outlook in terms of cases and the trajectory of our cases is not looking good in Ontario, nor is it looking very good in Niagara,” Hirji said.

“I think there’s very little time for us to turn this trajectory around and bring cases down to a level where we aren’t going to see our hospitals and ICU’s overwhelmed.”

The latest Health Canada numbers on Monday showed the are are over 3,000 confirmed cases of VOCs across all 10 provinces with the B.1.1.7 variant, first identified in the U.K., accounting for more than 90 per cent of those infections.

As of Monday, Hamilton saw another jump in variant cases, 21, to 270 with eight outbreak locations reporting at least one variant case.

Read more: Ontario COVID-19 vaccine portal launches with nearly 100K bookings, some errors

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Only seven cases have been positively recognized so far as the B.1.1.7 variant.

Richardson characterized the city’s situation as a “race” between the vaccine and the variants.

“We do anticipate variants of concern to become the predominant strains of COVID-19 in the community over time,” Richardson said.

“Science does suggest that the B.1.1.7 variant at least is able to spread more easily and faster.”

So far, three Ontario regions have had to switch on the so-called ’emergency break’ due to a negative change in key local public health indicators. Simcoe-Muskoka, Thunder Bay and Sudbury have moved back into the grey-lockdown zone of the province’s COVID-19 response framework in recent weeks.

Richardson says whether Hamilton activates the brake will be contingent on the numbers public plans to review in the coming week.

“So at this point, I’m quite concerned,” Richardson said.

Hamilton reports 74 new COVID-19 cases, outbreak over at Macassa Lodge

Hamilton reported 74 new COVID-19 cases on Monday and the end of a large outbreak at a long-term care home on the Mountain that lasted over two months.

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The outbreak at Macassa Lodge on Upper Sherman Avenue, initially announced on Jan. 1, 2021, had just five cases when it started.  It would eventually grow to 62 cases before closing on Sunday. The surge saw 11 people die with 39 residents and 23 staff members becoming infected with the virus over 73 days.

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One other outbreak was declared over on Monday at a city shelter downtown, the Mission Services Men’s Centre near Wentworth and Barton Street East.

The surge lasted just under a month, 26 days, and saw just 11 cases including 10 with residents.

Meanwhile, another shelter was added to the list of outbreaks in Hamilton on Sunday, the Hatts Off Group home on Main Street West. The facility is reporting just a single case among a resident. There are seven shelters with outbreaks in the city involving 91 COVID-19 cases.

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Meanwhile, the Juravinski hospital says there are four cases among patients with at least one involving a variant. The hospital already has an outbreak in its F3 unit which saw an increase of seven cases day over day to 22 total cases amid the surge.

There are 30 ongoing coronavirus outbreaks in the city involving 285 cases. Five hospitals are involved with a total of 65 cases and a pair of deaths at the outbreak in Hamilton General.

Read more: Ontario Hospital Association, science advisor say province in 3rd COVID-19 wave amid spike in variant cases

Active cases are up for the second day in a row by 23 to 532 as of March 15.

Public health says 41 per cent (255) of the city’s 623 new cases in the last 10 days involve people under the age of 29.

As of Monday, the city’s weekly rate of new cases per 100,000 population is now at 77, with 2.9 per cent of all COVID-19 tests reported to public health producing a positive result in the last seven days.

So far, Hamilton has administered over 58,000 COVID-19 vaccines as of Monday. Close to 14,000 doses have been given out by mobile teams and around 43,500 through fixed clinics.

Halton reports 40 new COVID-19 cases, death at Georgetown hospital

Halton Region reported 40 new COVID-19 cases on Monday and its 199th death amid the pandemic.

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The death was recorded at the Georgetown Hospital in Halton Hills which has been in an outbreak since Feb. 13. The facility has seen 22 cases and five deaths tied to outbreak which lasted 31 days.

The region has had 10,083 total coronavirus cases since the pandemic began.

Halton has 17 active outbreaks as of Monday with three tied to health facilities in Oakville and Halton Hills.

Public health says there are now 240 possible variant cases as of March 15, with 21 confirmed.

Read more: Does AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine cause blood clots? Here’s what we know so far

Active cases were up on Monday after three days of decline. The region has 281 as of March 15.

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 of which are at fixed clinics and about 1,200 at community sites as of March 11.

Niagara reports 29 new COVID-19 cases, 14 new variant cases

Niagara public health reported 29 new COVID-19 cases on Monday.

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The region has now had 8,953 total coronavirus cases and 373 deaths since the pandemic began.

For 11 days in a row, active cases have gone up in the Niagara. The region has 265 total active cases, with Niagara Falls having the most at 58.

Read more: ‘Biggest financial crunch I’ve ever faced’: A year living on COVID-19 recovery benefits

Niagara’s seven-day rolling new case average per 100,000 is at 30.47 as of March 15.

Public health says there are 27 active outbreaks with three at health facilities, a pair of retirement homes and a long-term care home.

The latest outbreak was declared Thursday at Albright Manor in Lincoln.

The region added just one new variant case on Monday and has 118 total cases.

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 15.

Haldimand Norfolk reports one new COVID-19 case

Haldimand Norfolk reported just a single coronavirus case on Monday with a slight drop in active cases by three to 41.

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Both counties have accounted for 1,503 total COVID-19 cases amid the pandemic and 39 deaths.

Read more: Ireland, Netherlands temporarily halt use of AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine

Over 12,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccines have been administered in both counties combined as of March 15, with about 1,600 people having completed their series of shots.

Brant County reports 14 new COVID-19 cases

The Brant County Health Unit reported 14 new COVID-19 cases on Monday with active cases up 11 day over day to 87 as of March 15.

Public health added two new outbreaks at a pair of elementary schools in Brantford on Monday, Walter Gretzky and Ryerson Heights. Walter Gretzky has three student cases while Ryerson has two cases among students.

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An outbreak at another school, James Hillier was declared over on Sunday. It lasted 24 days and had four student cases.

Public health is now managing five active outbreaks in the community at a nursing home, three schools and one workplace.

The county has had 1,618 coronavirus cases and 12 virus-related deaths since the pandemic began last year.

Read more: A look at the difference between COVID-19 vaccine efficacy and effectiveness

The region added seven more variant cases on Monday. The county now has 25 variant cases with none having their lineage classified.

Public health says close to 15,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccines have been administered in Brant County with more than 2,500 people having completed their vaccinations as of March 15.

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