Hamilton is on ‘the flat part’ of the COVID-19 curve, says medical officer of health

The number of COVID-19 cases in Hamilton is taking a month to double now, which suggests the city is “in that flat part” of the curve.

That was according to Dr. Elizabeth Richardson, Hamilton’s medical officer of health, during a media briefing Friday.

Richardson warned that people have to continue their efforts to slow the spread of the pandemic, including keeping a two-metre physical distance from other people and only leaving home when necessary. But overall, Richardson said, the trend in the general community is positive.

“Our doubling time is sitting at a month,” she said. “Thirty-one days. That is really, really good news.”

“We think we’re sitting in that peak, post-peak period overall in terms of where we are.”

That isn’t the case with institutional outbreaks, she said. An inmate at the Hamilton-Wentworth Detention Centre has tested positive for COVID-19, she said, and there’s a new outbreak at St. Joseph’s Villa. The criteria for an outbreak is one resident or staff member testing positive. There is also a new outbreak at the St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton West 5th campus.

Overall, Hamilton has 369 cases today, including five probable and 364 confirmed. More than half of those cases — 186 — have recovered, and 17 have died. 

That’s up slightly from Thursday, when Hamilton had 364 cases (359 confirmed, five probable).

Hamilton is seeing around 10 new cases per day, Richardson said, “sometimes less than that.”

Eight people are hospitalized with COVID-19 at St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton, and 18 at Hamilton Health Sciences hospitals. That’s six new hospitalizations since Thursday. 

Mayor Fred Eisenberger said some city services are slowly restarting while using physical distancing guidelines. That includes work at the Gage Park greenhouse. City council will look at forming a mayor’s task force on recovery Wednesday.

Even as talk turns to getting life back to normal, he said, people need to listen to health officials. Physical distancing is key, he said. People should only leave home for essential reasons.

“As long as this virus exists, there are going to be restrictions,” he said. “If we land on that too quickly, we could very well be back to a full closure.”

Paul Johnson, director of the city’s emergency operations centre, says the city won’t close James Street North or any other street to vehicular traffic to give pedestrians more space. Earlier this week, council received a petition signed by 240 people asking for a temporary closure.

Brant

The number of cases in the Brant County Health Unit’s area, which includes the city of Brantford, is 84 after resting at 78 for three days. 

Of those cases, 57 have recovered, five have required hospitalization and three have died. 

The health unit has announced a second outbreak at St. Joseph’s Lifecare Centre in Brantford, with one staff member testing positive. The home had an earlier outbreak that ended April 12. 

Haldimand-Norfolk

The Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit says there’s a new outbreak at Parkview Meadows long-term care home in Townsend. Two staff members have tested positive and are in self-isolation. The residents have tested negative.

Overall, Haldimand and Norfolk counties have 174 confirmed cases, 101 of which are staff or residents of Anson Place Care Centre in Hagersville. Of those, 32 people have recovered and 31 have died. Twenty-seven of the deaths are at Anson Place, with one more death yet to be confirmed. 

Meanwhile, a new report from county staff says the pandemic will have “significant financial impacts.” This comes at a time when the county was already making deep cuts to balance the books, including closing museums and at least one arena.

“Additional corrective action may be required,” the report says. 

Halton

Halton is reporting 470 cases (415 confirmed, 55 probable), up four from Thursday. Of those, 19 have died and 217 have recovered. 

There have been 92 cases in Burlington and six people have died. 

Niagara

Three more people have died in the Niagara region, bringing the area’s COVID-19 death toll to 37.

The area has 427 confirmed cases, up from 412 the day before. Of those, 161 have recovered.

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