Hamilton reports over 200 new COVID-19 cases, older residents still suffering worst outcomes

The director of one of Ontario’s top geriatric units says despite new COVID-19 infections skewing to younger age brackets in the last few months, it’s still the older demographics who are suffering the worst outcomes of the ongoing pandemic.

Dr. Samir Sinha at the Sinai Health System and the University Health Network in Toronto says younger people under the age of 30 are less likely to get seriously ill from the virus and typically certain to avoid death, but that has not been the case with those over 60.

Read more: Ontario reports more than 4,100 new COVID-19 cases, 28 deaths

“What’s been worrisome is that we’re forgetting that 90 per cent of the deaths that are still occurring today are among older people,” said Sinha.

As of April 14, only about 18 per cent of the Hamilton’s active COVID-19 cases are among those aged 60 or over. More than 67 per cent of cases are in people aged 50 and under while residents under 30 represent 40 per cent of the ongoing cases.

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However, the city has recorded 54 virus-related deaths since March 1 with 53 of them people over the age of 60 — 98 per cent of all those who have passed with COVID-19.

Sinha supports the province’s initiative to prioritize older demos in its vaccination plan since it is by far the “greatest predictor” of who could die from an infection. He says in March two-thirds of Ontario ICU patients were represented by people over 60.

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“I’m worried that when we’re not paying enough attention to this group, and not getting them vaccinated quickly enough, we’re just going to see completely overwhelmed hospitals and ICUs because they’re the ones representing the majority of those hospitalizations as well,” said Sinha

As of Wednesday, Hamilton’s bookings for COVID-19 vaccines are for residents 60 and older, with those 50 and older in COVID ‘hot spot’ postal codes also eligible for shots.

The city is set to target health-care workers, some educators and Indigenous populations for vaccines as well.

Read more: AstraZeneca vaccine still safe despite ‘stronger link’ to blood clots, Health Canada says

Hamilton clinics have administered 139,501 COVID-19 vaccines as of Tuesday with close to 60,000 through the fixed site at Hamilton Health Sciences.

The clinic at St. Joe’s has now administered about 32,000 doses, 21,500 of which have been through mobile clinics, 14,000 with the First Ontario site, 6,500 at pharmacies, and around 5,000 at primary care clinics.

Hamilton public health reports 201 new COVID-19 cases, first two of new P.1 variant

After five days of reporting 100 or more new COVID-19 cases, the city broke 200 (201) on Wednesday. That’s the highest number the city has seen since early January when 200 cases were reported on Jan. 7.

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There was also a significant bump in active cases on Wednesday, up 220, to 1224.

Read more: Hamilton mayor calls for province to send more vaccine doses to COVID-19 ‘hot spots’

The city’s seven-day average of new cases went up day over day by 11 to 139 as of April 14.

The weekly case rate is at 163 per 100,000 people.

Hamilton now has 1,430 variant-related cases, up 37 day over day. A pair were identified as the highly infectious P.1 variant, first discovered in Brazil.

The B.1.1.7 variant is estimated to be 50 to 65 per cent more transmissible than the original virus and has been driving the rapid surge in cases across Ontario, according to public health.

Variants have been identified as the cause of at least 28 of Hamilton’s 44 known outbreaks across the city.

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

Public health reported just one new surge on Wednesday at the Ancaster Little Gems Children Centre.

The largest of the current outbreaks is at Connon Nurseries in Waterdown which has 30 cases among staff members with a screened variant.

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A pair of elementary school outbreaks are over as of Tuesday at St. Clare of Assisi in Stoney Creek and Ancaster Meadow.

There are now 10 outbreaks involving 56 cases in city schools. The Hamilton Wentworth District School Board (HWDSB) has four of the surges while the Catholic board (HWCDSB) accounts for three. There are three in non-public schools.

Read more: COVID-19 variants: Not the same disease

A workplace outbreak at ArcelorMittal Dofasco in the industrial sector has ended after seven days and a surge that’s been going on since March 14 at the Juravinski hospital is also over. The hospital had 17 cases and one death over 30 days.

The city’s two hospital systems have a combined 111 patients being treated for COVID-19 — 68 at Hamilton Health Sciences (HHS) facilities, and 43 at St. Joe’s.

ICU capacity at HHS hospitals is at 89 per cent while St. Joe’s is at 94.

There have now been 14,582 total coronavirus cases locally since the pandemic began last year.

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