The latest COVID-19 modelling data from Hamilton public health is suggesting the city is just a couple of weeks away from reaching the peak of the third wave in the pandemic.
During a board of health meeting on Tuesday, Dr. Doug Sider said forecasting points to a third wave peak for the city during the first week of May with the average number of daily cases ranging between 150 to 230.
“It’s important to note, that it may be worse than that,” Sider told city councillors and the mayor.
Sider said the variables at play during the next few weeks will be the speed of vaccine rollouts, people’s willingness to follow public health measures and the transmissibility of variants.
The physician said even the best case scenarios for Hamilton suggests restrictions will likely need to be in place until early summer since cases could still range from 50 to 70 cases per day by the end of June.
“That translates probably into still remaining in the gray lockdown zone or hovering between the gray lockdown zone and the red control zone of the provincial response framework,” said Sider.
The latest modelling however does not take into account severe illnesses within the city’s hospitals and the “load leveling” transfers of patients from other regions into the city’s critical care units.
More promising news in the forecast was the prediction of fewer deaths during the current wave largely due to vaccinations among Hamilton’s oldest residents.
About 82 per cent of the city’s seniors aged 85 and over have been vaccinated according to public health, with 79 percent of those aged 80 to 84 years old having received at least one shot.
As of Monday, Hamilton clinics have administered 156,742 COVID-19 vaccines, with close to 64,000 administered through the fixed site at Hamilton Health Sciences.
The clinic at St. Joe’s has now administered about 35,000 doses, 23,000 of which have been through mobile clinics, 18,000 with the First Ontario site, 11,000 at pharmacies, and around 5,000 at primary care clinics.
In an update on Tuesday afternoon, the city’s Medical officer of health Dr. Elizabeth Richardson said public health was beginning to look at adjustments in the vaccination program over the coming days and the possibility of including younger demos, even people 18 and over in ‘hot spot’ neighborhoods.
“We’ve seen some of those areas have very good coverage rates now in their older populations, but maybe not yet in that 50-plus group,” said Richardson.
“So we’re continuing to work at that and decide how to best target those vaccinations in those priority neighborhoods.”
Hamilton reports 40 new COVID-19 cases, 2 deaths
After reporting 11 days of 100 or more COVID-19 cases, Hamilton reported just 40 new COVID-19 cases on Tuesday and two more virus-related deaths.
Public health said the low case count on Tuesday is attributed to “an underestimation.”
“Some reasons for fluctuation include ongoing investigation and data collection, transfers between health units, error detection and linking/unlinking cases to outbreaks,” spokesperson James Berry told Global News.
The last time the city recorded less than 40 cases in a day was on March 8 when 30 were reported. It’s been 11 days since the city revealed less than 100 or more cases in 24 hours.
The new deaths involve two people in their 60s. Hamilton has now had 346 virus-related deaths since the pandemic began in 2020.
Three hundred and forty of the deceased were aged 60 and above, while 233 were over 80 years old.
St. Peter’s Hospital on Maplewood Avenue in the city’s east end has recorded another death in an ongoing outbreak that began on March 23.
The hospital has now had six COVID-related deaths out of 27 total cases recorded amid the surge.
Hamilton has 43 outbreaks as of Tuesday involving more than 270 total cases.
Workplaces have been the hardest hit in the last month with 14 outbreaks tied to 127 cases as of April 20. Two more were reported on Monday at Air Wise Sales Inc. Dundas and Zzone Homes in East Hamilton, both involve cases with three staff members.
The Juravinski hospital recorded a new outbreak on Tuesday at its F3 unit tied to two patients.
Three hospitals in the city now have outbreaks with Hamilton General reporting three in its 5 South unit, 4 West unit, and its customer support services office.
St. Ann (Ancaster) Catholic Elementary School was added to the list of public schools in current outbreaks. The facility has a pair of student cases.
There are five schools in ongoing outbreaks with 14 combined cases as of April 20.
Mabuhay Lodge supportive housing in Central Hamilton, Stoney Creek Child Care Center and Sunshine Daycare in West Hamilton have all reported outbreaks as of Tuesday. The largest of the three is at Sunshine which has three cases among patrons and one staffer.
Four outbreaks were closed on Tuesday at St. Joe’s CTU West unit on the Charlton Campus, ArcelorMittal Dofasco’s Iron Maintenance Department in the Industrial sector, the Michaels store on Stone Church Road and St. Leonard’s Society in Central Hamilton.
The largest of the surges was at the Michaels’s store which recorded four cases among staff members in a span of 12 days.
Active cases were down slightly day over day by 20 to 1,383 as of April 20.
The city’s seven-day average of new cases remains at 175 day over day.
The weekly case rate per 100,000 is at 204 as of Tuesday.
There have now been 15,557 total coronavirus cases locally since the pandemic began last year.View link »