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Hamilton public health forecasts 120 COVID-19 cases per day by mid-October

Hamilton public health says the city could hit as many as 120 COVID-19 cases a day amid the fourth wave of the pandemic in October.

Officials revealed the lasted Scarsin forecast during a board of health meeting on Monday and suggest people between the age of 20 to 59 will potentially be most affected by the rise in infections.

“We have two sorts of opposing forces,” Medical Officer of Health (MOH) Dr. Elizabeth Richardson told the mayor and councillors.

Read more: Ontario reports 610 new COVID-19 cases, 2 deaths

“We have increasing rates of vaccination, which is exactly what we want and which are having a positive impact, and then we’re having this Delta variant, which is highly transmissible.”

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Public health epidemiologist Ruth Sanderson says the forecast is essentially based on 10 factors being constant, with the most significant including 80 per cent of the city being fully vaccinated, 70 per cent of the population continuing masking and distancing, the implementation of a vaccine certificate, 98 per cent circulation of the Delta variant and three per cent of the public school population in remote learning.

Hamilton public health’s COVID-19 pandemic forecasting for the fourth wave projects there will be an average of 120 cases per day by mid-October assuming 10 factors are present including increasing vaccination rates.

Sanderson said, all things considered, the peak of the fourth wave could be lower than that of the third wave, which produced an average of 180 cases a day in Hamilton. The new forecast suggested the best-case scenario would be cases around 100 per day, with the worst-case projection suggesting over 200 per day.

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With the expectations of around 120 per day, Hamilton would see another 8,000 cases by the end of wave four, just under the total number (8,900) seen in wave two and the 11,600 reported in wave three.

The city is also on track to see hundreds hospitalized from COVID-19 between now and the end of the year, with more than half of them among residents aged 20 to 59, according to the forecast.

Admissions for Hamiltonians are now projected to reach just under five admissions per day at the peak in mid-October,” Sanderson said in her BOH presentation.

“Overall, the forecast indicates we will see about 300 new hospital admissions of Hamiltonians between now, September 20th, and the end of December.”

Read more: COVID-19 vaccine effective in children ages 5 to 11, Pfizer says

The city’s worst-case scenarios would see eight admissions per day with the best only three a day.

Over half of those will be among people aged 20 to 59 and a third of those cases could be people under 19 by the end of December, according to the epidemiologist.

“Modeling continues to support that increased vaccinations and maintaining public health measures should reduce the impact of the fourth wave,” Sanderson said.

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Hamilton reports 90 new cases on the weekend, 4 new outbreaks

Hamilton recorded 90 new COVID-19 cases over the weekend and revealed four new outbreaks — two at public schools.

The city now has four active outbreaks in schools involving nine total cases. There are three cases at Tapleytown Elementary School, and two each at Shannen Koostachin Elementary School, Huntington Park Elementary School and St. Thomas More Catholic Secondary School.

An outbreak at Pine Villa Care Centre seniors home in Stoney Creek was declared on Sunday, tied to two cases, while the Victoria Manor II supportive housing facility has a single case.

There are 13 active outbreaks in Hamilton involving 38 cases.

Read more: U.S. extends land border rules to Canada and Mexico, eases other travel measures

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Active cases dropped over the weekend from 328 on Friday down to 308 on Monday. The city’s seven-day average also dropped from 40 on Sept. 17 to 38 on Sept. 20.

Over 61 per cent of Hamilton’s active cases are people aged 20 to 59. About 25 per cent of cases are among people under age 19.

The percentage of Hamilton tests returning from labs positive for COVID-19 is about 4.8 per cent — the fifth-highest rate in Ontario behind Windsor-Essex, Chatham-Kent, Niagara and Brant County.

Ontario’s average is 3.43 per cent.

Hamilton hospitals saw their combined number of COVID-19 patients drop over the weekend by three to 39 as of Monday with seven removed from intensive care units (ICUs).

Over 75 per cent of Hamilton fully vaccinated, city centre's rates still behind

Over 75.2 per cent of the city’s eligible population over 12 are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, with 82 per cent having had at least one shot.

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In Ontario, 85.09 per cent of people aged 12-plus have received at least one vaccine dose and almost 79 per cent are fully vaccinated.

Richardson says despite the city’s rate still below the provincial average, spread of the virus “is not that great.”

“When you look at our rollout, a lot of it can be explained by the timing in terms of when vaccines were rolled out to higher risk groups,” Richardson said in an afternoon update on Sept. 20.

“You continue to see a steady increase that’s happening right across our community and in fact, even some faster increases in our lower coverage, higher risk FSAs that we’ve been concerned about for some time.”

Read more: New proof of COVID-19 vaccination requirement in Waterloo Region begins Wednesday

Month over month, four central Hamilton FSAs (Forward Sorting Areas) — L8H, L8L, L8M and L8H — still lag behind the city’s average, with a combined 66 per cent of residents having a single dose and only 58 per cent with a pair of shots.

West Harbour, King Street and Ottawa Street North (L8L) saw the second dose rate move up by almost seven per cent month over month, however, it remains the lowest rate in the city at just 54.94 per cent.

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The city’s MOH says she’s pleased to see first and second dose rates among those aged 12 through 17 continuing to rise. As of Monday, month over month first doses rose just over eight per cent to 80.80 per cent, while second shots for those 12 to 17 were up over 10 per cent to 68.78 per cent.

“They have really picked up their vaccination coverage,” said Richardson.

“We’re most worried about that age group that’s sort of 18 to 39 where their coverage is not as great. So wanting to see that group, in particular, continue to inch up in terms of their vaccination coverage rates.”

Only 65.83 per cent of Hamiltonians aged between 18 and 39 have had two shots as of Monday, with just over 75 per cent having at least one shot, according to public health.

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