Over 95% of staff at Hamilton’s hospitals vaccinated with deadlines less than a month away

Hamilton's hospitals are now less than 30 days from enacting more disciplinary measures for those not meeting the agencies mandatory COVID vaccine policies. Global News

Hamilton’s two major hospital networks are now less than a month a way from hitting mandatory COVID-19 vaccination deadlines for staffers and both are reporting compliance rates over 95 per cent.

As of Thursday, a majority of staff and physicians at both of the city’s entities are fully vaccinated with many more updating their status as each week passes, according to spokespeople at St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton and Hamilton Health Sciences (HHS).

HHS’ Wendy Stewart told Global News that over 96 per cent of workers are vaccinated with just over 10 days left before a hard deadline for its mandatory vaccination policy kicks in on November 30.

“At present, all staff and physicians are only required to report their vaccination status, and participate in regular testing if proof of vaccination is not provided,” Stewart said in an e-mail.

Story continues below advertisement

“The majority of staff and physicians at HHS are in compliance with the reporting requirement and are also fully vaccinated.”

About 350 with HHS became fully vaccinated over the past week, putting the hospital up to 12,735 fully vaccinated of its 13,317 staffers. Another 137 say they have had at least one shot.

So far, 52 individuals have been disciplined for non-compliance with reporting or testing and seven of those have been terminated. Less than five have a medical exemption.

It leaves 445 that have either opted not to be vaccinated or did not report their situation.

Meanwhile, St. Joe’s says 99 per cent of its 5,760 staffers and physicians have reported, with 95 per cent fully vaccinated. About 85 people (1.5 per cent) are partially vaccinated.

Story continues below advertisement

“Just over 3 per cent are pursuing an exemption, are unvaccinated or have not responded,” spokesperson Maria Hayes told Global News.

The latest health and medical news emailed to you every Sunday.

“Our vaccination deadline is December 14, at which point we will begin progressive disciplinary action.”

Unpaid leaves of absences and even dismissal await those who do not become fully vaccinated in the next month, according to the agencies.

In September, both of the city’s hospitals laid out plans for mandatory vaccination policies, arguing it was needed to maintain safe work environments and the protection of patients from the coronavirus.

Those not vaccinated for approved reasons are subject to testing twice a week.

Last week, Joseph Brant Hospital (JBH) in Burlington revealed 38 employees were placed on unpaid leave and 13 terminated for not meeting COVID-19 mandatory vaccinations requirements.

The move came a little over a week after a deadline requiring staffers to meet an immunization and management policy.

Over 82% of eligible 12-plus population fully vaccinated in Hamilton

Over the last seven days Hamilton’s health partners have put just over 8,200 vaccine doses into arms, with last Friday recording the largest intake since Oct. 8 – 1,772 shots.

Story continues below advertisement

That number is well above the monthly average of daily doses administered so far for November, which is 1,056 per day.

November’s average so far is slightly less than what was recorded for all of October, 1,068 shots per day, and farther behind September’s average of 1,488 per day.

As of Wednesday, 82.7 per cent of eligible Hamiltonians over the age of 12 have been fully vaccinated while 85.9 per cent have had at least a single jab. The city is still behind the provincial average which sees 85.8 per cent fully vaccinated and 88.9 with at least one vaccine dose.

Residents aged 70 to 84 have reached the ministry of health’s target of 90 per cent first and second dose coverage, meanwhile Hamiltonians aged 25 to 29 represent the lowest vaccination rates in the community at just 72.4 per cent fully vaccinated.

Hamilton is behind 31 other public health units in the percentage of two-dose vaccinations in Ontario, as of Nov. 18.

Hamilton's weekly COVID-19 case rates drops slightly

Hamilton reported 35 new COVID-19 cases on Friday and saw the city’s seven-day average rate go up from 15 to 20 as of Thursday.

Story continues below advertisement

The rate is slightly higher than the daily average for November so far, and lower than the 22 case per day average reported for October.

Active cases were up for the third day in a row to 157 as of Nov. 19, an increase of 13.

More than 62 per cent of all active cases are in people under the age of 50, while 41.4 per cent are under 30.

There are 10 reported outbreaks tied to 61 total cases across the city as of Nov. 18. The largest is at St. Peter’s Hospital which has 18 total cases  — four among staff and 14 among patients.

Outbreaks at schools include cases at three public entities and two private facilities.

The largest is with the Catholic school board’s St. Gabriel Elementary on Barton Street in Stoney Creek which has seen total cases grow by three day over day to 12 as of Thursday.

In the last 14 days, both public boards combined have reported 41 cases with 35 among students.

Hospitals in Hamilton are reporting a total of 18 COVID patients as of Friday, including eight people in intensive care units (ICU).


Sponsored content