Hamilton reported just 25 new COVID-19 cases on Monday, the lowest daily number the city has recorded since March 1.
The city’s active cases also dropped for the 18th consecutive day to 407 on June 7 from the 447 reported on Sunday.
The percentage of Hamilton tests returning from Ontario labs as positive for COVID-19 is 6.1 per cent.
The number is higher than the province’s last reported number, 3.6 per cent, on June 7.
The city’s reproductive number — the average number of people an infected person is passing COVID-19 on to — has not changed since the weekend and remains at 0.89 after a bump from 0.68 the previous week.
There were no new outbreaks revealed on Monday after three new workplace surges were declared on the weekend at AIM Recycling Hamilton in the industrial sector, Cancord Inc. in central Hamilton and Drive Star Shuttle System in Dundas. All three recorded a pair of cases among workers.
The city has seven workplace outbreaks involving 21 people, with 77 total cases among all reported surges in Hamilton.
Hamilton’s two hospital agencies are reporting 60 COVID-19 patients occupying beds across the city.
St. Joe’s says it has 17 patients with COVID-19, with 13 in intensive care units (ICU).
Hamilton Health Sciences facilities have 43 patients, with 18 in an ICU.
As of Monday, there are 497 patients in the province’s ICUs. Two weeks ago there were 687 patients.
Hamilton's vaccination rate, low case count could help fight against Delta variant
A specialist at Queen’s University says the province continues to have challenges identifying the Delta or B.1.617 variant of concern that’s been spreading rapidly in some regions like Peel, where the medical officer of health suggests it will be the dominant strain in weeks.
Dr. Gerald Evans, the university’s chair of the infectious diseases division, says the problem surrounds current rapid tests, which cannot find two mutations with the new variant since they don’t appear to exist in this version of the coronavirus.
“So that means we have to go to a somewhat more labour-intensive and somewhat longer test called whole-genome sequencing, where we actually have to sort of dissect the genetic markers of this particular variant. So that’s a little bit more time-consuming,” said Evans.
Out of 7,000 identified variant cases, Hamilton public health has only confirmed five cases of the Delta variant.
Despite proliferation and issues tracking the variant, Evans says the good news is cases overall are dramatically dropping cases across the province.
“Even though the percentage of the positive tests are the Delta variant, the total numbers are so low that ultimately that’s going to put that particular variant at a disadvantage,” Evans said.
On Monday, Ontario reported just 525 new COVID-19 cases – the lowest daily case count since late September. It’s the eighth day in a row numbers have been below 1,000, according to the province.
Hamilton’s medical officer of health says another positive for Hamilton is its vaccination rate, which is at 65.2 per cent as of Monday — suggesting two-thirds of the eligible population over 18 have a received vaccine dose.
The city moves on to those 12-plus this week, with the first 19 clinics set for eight locations offering the initial dose for youth starting June 8 through to June 14.
Concerns with the Delta virus are properties that make it more transmissible than other variants, according to public health Canada, and that a recent United Kingdom study suggests two vaccine doses are much more effective in protecting against it.
Dr. Elizabeth Richardson, Hamilton’s medical officer of health, says acceleration of the current 12- and 16-week time between first and second shots could be moved up depending on whether vaccine deliveries continue to flourish in Hamilton.
“That’s where supply will come into play,” Richardson told Global News.
“You still need that minimum interval that’s required for any second dose, about four weeks’ time for the Moderna vaccines, and it’s best to have 12 weeks between the doses in terms of getting maximum response.”