Hamilton reports 5 new COVID-19 cases, urges patience with 2nd-dose bookings over the next week

A box containing the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine is sits in a packing box to be shipped from the McKesson distribution center in Olive Branch, Miss., Sunday, Dec. 20. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya, Pool) . AP file photo

The head of Hamilton’s emergency operations centre (EOC) is urging residents to be patient over the next week with booking a COVID-19 vaccine as eligibility for second doses expands to include those who got a first dose before May 30.

Booking on the provincial portal opened up at 8 a.m. Wednesday and as expected there was a surge in demand for appointments which simply will not cover the 102,000 people eligible for shots, since only 45,000 appointments were entered by public health in the last 24 hours, according to the city.

EOC director Paul Johnson told Global News the overwhelming uptake by residents to get a second dose is “great” but people will have to be patient as the city simply does not have the number of vaccine appointments ready for day one of the change.

Read more: Ontario reports 255 new COVID-19 cases, lowest daily count and test positivity since September

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“Supply is not limitless, so there will be a slight delay in people getting into the bookings as more and more people are eligible,” said Johnson.

“The supply constraint we’re talking about is really just the case that we don’t have 100,000 doses that we can give out today and we don’t have the infrastructure to support that.”

Ontarians living in designated hot spots for the Delta COVID-19 variant are now able to book earlier second vaccine doses as of Wednesday.

Last week, Hamilton joined Toronto, Peel, Halton, Porcupine, Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph, Waterloo, York, Simcoe-Muskoka and Durham on the Ford government’s list of hot spots for the more infectious virus variant.

Hamilton public health is asking residents to keep checking back with the portal often, since they expect to continue to load bookings over the coming days in alignment with vaccine supply.

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Dr. Elizabeth Richardson told Global News that she anticipates anybody over age 18 who got a first shot in late May and early June should be eligible to book a second dose appointment by the end of next week, assuming they meet the 28-day interval between shots.

Richardson says despite an expected slowdown in shipments of Pfizer-BioNTech doses through June and July, city clinics will still have enough doses of both Pfizer and Moderna to meet the demand expected over the next few weeks.

“They’re still going to make all their commitments, but it’ll just be a little bit slower,” said Richardson.

Richardson is also urging those who plan to take advantage of an accelerated second dose to make sure they cancel their originally scheduled second-dose appointment.

Read more: Canadian study finds mRNA vaccines produce more COVID-19 antibodies than AstraZeneca

“If you booked them through the city’s hotline or through St. Joe’s hotline, you do need to call back and cancel those appointments,” said Richardson. “So if people can do that, we really appreciate it, because then we can open up those appointments to others.”

More than 479,000 COVID-19 vaccine doses have been administered through Hamilton clinics and pharmacies as of Tuesday representing 72.5 per cent of the city’s adult population and 55 per cent of youth aged 12 to 17.

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More than 13 million total COVID-19 vaccine doses had been administered in Ontario as of Tuesday. That includes a record increase of 227,318 vaccines (28,946 for a first shot and 198,372 for a second shot) in the last day.

There are more than 3.3 million people fully vaccinated with two doses which equals 27.5 per cent of the adult population. First dose adult coverage sits at 76.5 per cent.

At least 33 million total doses have been administered in Canada to date with 66.43 per cent of people having at least one dose and 21.34 per cent now fully vaccinated.

Hamilton reports 5 new COVID-19 cases, drop in percentage of tests returning positive

The number of COVID-19 tests returning to Hamilton public health with positive results has dropped again week over week.

The city says the number dropped to 2.2 per cent on Wednesday from the previously reported 3.5 per cent. The number is still higher than the provincial average with checked in at 1.2 per cent on Wednesday — the lowest test positivity since Sept. 29 when it was also at 1.2 per cent.

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Hamilton’s seven-day average case rate remains at 16 day over day and active cases dropped slightly over 24 hours to 133 on Wednesday from 139 on Tuesday.

More than 71 per cent of the city’s active cases are among people under the age of 50, with about 18 per cent of cases among those aged 19 and under.

Public health reported just five new COVID-19 cases on Wednesday.

Read more: Protesters shut down N.S.-N.B. border over modified self-isolation rules

The city has just three reported ongoing outbreaks: at a workplace, seniors home and a supportive housing facility.

The largest is at the Denholme Manor supportive home, which accounts for 12 cases since May 23.

Hamilton hospitals have 30 COVID-19 patients as of Wednesday with 23 in intensive care (ICU).

Read more: 2nd vaccine eligibility moves up in Ontario hot spots for Delta variant on or before May 30

Hamilton Health Sciences (HHS) is reporting 17 COVID cases with 10 in intensive care while St. Joe’s has 13, all in ICUs.

Ontario reported 295 people in hospitals with COVID-19 on Wednesday (down by 39 from the previous day). There are 305 patients in intensive care units, down by nine day over day.

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– With files from the Canadian Press

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