Hamilton reports over 140 new COVID-19 cases, three new deaths

A local infectious disease specialist is characterizing the third wave of COVID-19 as the ‘health care’ wave in connection with the stresses being seen in ICU’s across Ontario.

St. Joseph’s Hospital’s Dr. Zain Chagla says the latest wave appears to have that reputation since hospital operations are of most concern, and not the “mass deaths” seen in long-term care homes during the first two waves of the pandemic.

“We pivoted our vaccines into long term care, in older individuals to deal with more transmission and saving them from hospitals,” Chagla told Global News.

Read more: Ontario reports more than 3,600 new COVID-19 cases, 15 deaths

“And guess what? You’re not seeing people with long term care dying, just very occasionally.”

Ontario has had 7,582 total virus related deaths as of April 13, 2020 with over 5,000 reported in people 80 and over, according to public health.

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It was a year ago the province’s daily death count began a surge in the first wave, recording 43 deaths on April 14 before reaching a peak daily high of 86 on April 30.

The pandemic high for Ontario was during the second wave, when on Jan. 15, 2021, the daily death toll hit 100.

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Since then, most medical officers from the 34 provincial health units are not getting the impression there will not be a repeat of those kinds of numbers in the third wave.

The negative for the third wave so far, is the hospitalization of more young people who have not yet been vaccinated, and facing more infectious variants now spreading among the population.

“We are definitely seeing younger people involved,” Chagla said. “The the good news is the younger people have more reserve, and they survive this more.”

Hamilton public health pandemic modelling revealed last week that Hamilton may need three months of lockdown measures before being able to step into a less restrictive level of the province’s reopening framework.

The forecast painted a picture of how hospitalizations have not declined since the end of the second wave in late 2020 and have the potential to spike in May, affecting primarily people ages 30 to 69.

Read more: Canada to get Johnson & Johnson vaccine, but monitoring U.S. reports

The transfer of patients from other regions is adding to the pressure of ICUs in the city, averaging 90 per cent or more in occupancy.

The upcoming week may be particularly tough as cases tied to the Easter long weekend could emerge in local hospitals, according to Chagla.

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“Some of those people are just starting to get ill now, showing up to get swabbed,” Chagla said.

“We still haven’t seen what happens when those people, unfortunately, get worse at about day five to seven into their illness, or in ICU at day nine.”

Hamilton public health reports 143 new COVID-19 cases, 80 percent of active cases under 50

For the fifth day in a row, Hamilton reported more than 100 (143) new COVID-19 cases on Tuesday.

Public health says of the 1,004 active cases in Hamilton, 67 per cent were tied to people under the age of 50. About 40 per cent under the age of 30.

Read more: Canada reports 1st blood clot in AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine recipient

The city’s seven-day average of new cases went up day over day by 11 to 130 as of April 13.

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Hamilton reported three more deaths tied to the coronavirus, all residents in their 80s.

The city has now had 337 COVID-related deaths since the pandemic began.

Pubic health reported four new outbreaks on Tuesday at a pair of elementary schools and two work places.

The largest of the outbreaks is at Aryzta/Oakrun Farm Bakery in Ancaster which involves 15 workers.

The outbreak at ArcelorMittal Dofasco at the 2 CPCM Roll Shop is tied to just three workers.

Read more: Blood clot risks: Comparing COVID-19 vaccines with common medicines, travel and smoking

The new surge at Cootes Paradise Elementary in Westdale is among three students, One student and a staffer are the affected at St. Vincent de Paul Catholic Elementary on the Mountain.

Outbreaks at St. Bernadette Catholic Elementary, Aldershot Greenhouses, Arrell Youth Centre and the Ancaster Foot Clinic were closed on Tuesday. The largest of the four was St. Bernadette which had four total cases.

There are now 47 outbreaks tied to 317 cases as of Tuesday.

Twelve of the outbreaks involve 55 cases in city schools. The Hamilton Wentworth District School Board (HWDSB) has five of the surges while the Catholic board (HWCDSB) accounts for four. There are three in non-public schools.

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The city’s two hospital systems have a combined 114 patients being treated for COVID-19 — 70 at Hamilton Health Sciences (HHS) facilities, and 44 at St. Joe’s.

Read more: ‘AstraZeneca isn’t enough’: Pharmacies plead with provinces for access to other COVID-19 vaccines

St. Joe’s hospitals are reporting acute care occupancy at 91 per cent as of Monday with HHS reporting 93 per cent occupancy.

Three area hospitals are experiencing outbreaks, which have accounted for 42 cases since mid-March and six virus-related deaths.

There have now been 14,381 total coronavirus cases locally since the pandemic began last year.

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