The City of Hamilton and St. Joseph’s hospital are set to relocate the COVID-19 testing centre at Mohawk College to a new Mountain location next month.
Public health says the former Future Shop location at 1565 Upper James St. near Rymal Road East will become the new hub on Dec. 17.
The existing site will close on the 15th, with the West End Clinic on Main Street West providing a buffer on Dec. 16 to accommodate testing during the transition.
“Physical location is the only change that will affect the public,” said Michelle Baird, Hamilton’s director of epidemiology, wellness and communicable disease.
“Phone numbers, online booking site and ways clients retrieve their results remain the same in keeping with the provincial guidelines.”
Currently, Hamilton’s COVID testing centers do not accept walk-ins and appointments have to be booked in advance at www.hamiltoncovidtest.ca
Baird said the move will not alter the city’s potential capacity for testing which stands at about 1,000 a day for the Mohawk College site and 500 for the west end assessment centre.
“There is ability for individuals to get testing the same day if they need to do that, and so at this point, we don’t have concerns on the testing front from a capacity perspective,” Baird said.
Hamilton’s testing regiment has shifted in recent months with capacity expanding at the Mohawk and west end branches in August prior to the return of in-person learning in public schools.
Targeted mobile clinics for neighbourhoods struggling with positive cases was also another addition to their initiatives in mid-October.
City clinics do not offer testing requests associated with travel or for entry into public events such as the ones currently offered by regional drug stores.
Hamilton reports 57 new COVID-19 cases over the weekend
Hamilton public health reported 57 new COVID-19 cases over the weekend and a drop in active cases from Friday.
The city’s seven-day average case rate has dropped slightly in the last few days, checking in at 21 on Monday compared with Friday’s average of 22 per day.
So far, for all of November, the city has an average case rate of 20 per day, slightly lower than the 22 cases per day reported in October.
Active cases dropped to 158 as of Nov. 29, down 11 from the 169 reported on Friday.
More than 72 per cent of all active cases are in people under the age of 50, while 39 per cent are under 30.
The city’s per cent positivity rate — representing the number of tests returning positive from labs — remains at 2.4 per cent, lower than the provincial average of 3.5 per cent reported on Monday.
Since the pandemic started in March 2020, Hamilton has reported 25,766 COVID cases.
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There are eight reported ongoing outbreaks tied to 39 total cases across the city as of Nov. 29. The largest is at St. Gabriel Catholic Elementary School, which has 14 total cases — one among staff and 13 among students.
As of Monday, there are six ongoing school outbreaks connected to 25 total cases.
In the last 14 days, both public boards combined have reported 66 cases, with 50 among students.
Hospitals in Hamilton are reporting a total of 14 COVID-19 patients as of Thursday: nine at Hamilton Health Sciences and five at St. Joe’s.
Currently, the city is averaging less than one new hospital admission each day.
Over 83% of eligible Hamiltonians 12-plus fully vaccinated
Over the weekend, Hamilton’s health partners administered over 6,130 vaccine doses, with Friday recording the largest intake over the week at 2,813 shots.
With a COVID-19 vaccine becoming available to kids aged 5 through 11, the city saw a 56.7 per cent increase in doses administered week over week.
Over the last seven days, the city put 12,500 shots into arms, close to 4,500 more than Nov. 15 through Nov. 21.
November’s average shots per day also got a boost, moving from 1,057 as of Friday to 1,239 as of Sunday.
That’s more than the daily average recorded for October — 1,068 per day.
Public health estimates that about 17 per cent of the city’s 42,000 children eligible for a shot have been scheduled into the city’s VERTO booking system as of Monday.
As of Sunday, 83.3 per cent of eligible Hamiltonians over the age of 12 have been fully vaccinated while 86.7 per cent have had at least a single dose. The city is still behind the provincial average, which has 86.3 per cent fully vaccinated and 89.7 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 of those eligible in the community at just over 73 per cent fully vaccinated.
Hamilton is behind 31 other public health units in the percentage of two-dose vaccinations in Ontario.