COVID-19 variant is cause for concern if locals ignore public health measures
Hamilton reported 70 new cases of COVID-19 and 3 more deaths on Wednesday
As the number of daily and weekly cases of COVID-19 continue to drop in Hamilton, the city's medical officer of health says they are still far too high — and if people aren't following public health measures, it may have to deal with another spike of infections because of COVID-19 variants.
"If you think about it, we're now happy with numbers in the 90s. Our perspective may have changed a little bit, been coloured by our recent experience, and maybe dulled a little bit to the fact we would really like numbers under 25, that's where we really want to be, back in that green zone and continuing to go down," Dr. Elizabeth Richardson said in an interview on Wednesday afternoon.
"It is by no means time to start thinking of doing anything differently than we've already been doing."
The city reported another 70 cases of the virus on Wednesday and three new deaths linked to the illness.
Hamilton's weekly rate of new cases per 100,000 people continues to fall and is at 94.
Still, there are 670 active cases of COVID-19 and with the new deaths over the last 24 hours, the number recorded over the course of the pandemic now stands at 243.
There are also 135 people in hospital with the virus and 50 outbreaks.
"Whatever happens in our communities happens in our long-term care homes, our retirement homes, our schools. We want our kids back in school, that is the best place for them ultimately," Richardson said.
"We want to get these congregate setting outbreaks down, we want to get our hospitals and health-care workers to be able to serve people with things other than COVID-19 and remembering every bed taken up by someone with COVID-19 means somebody else wasn't able to have a bed for a surgery that needs to be done or some other test they need."
COVID-19 variants in Ontario are also something public health is keeping a close eye on.
"If we're following public health measures and doing those things then we don't need to worry too much about those numbers. But if we're not, we really are very much worried about those numbers going straight back up," Richardson said.
Since the start of the pandemic, 8,902 people in Hamilton have been diagnosed with the novel coronavirus. Of these, 7,864 are resolved.
The county of Brant has 52 active cases and one new death according to data online. There were 11 new cases in the last 24 hours.
There have been 1,327 cases since March and seven deaths. There are six people hospitalized with COVID-19.
A total of 1,268 cases have been marked as resolved.
Brant County Public Health reports 2,552 vaccines have been administered.
Haldimand and Norfolk Counties are reporting two new cases of COVID-19.
There have been 1,296 throughout the pandemic. Of those, 83 are active while 1,170 have recovered.
The local public health unit has linked the virus to 38 deaths.
The number of COVID-19 cases in Halton rose by 52 on Wednesday, for a total of 8,108 so far.
Data indicates 455 of those cases are active.
Forty-four of the new cases were in Burlington, which has seen 2,166 cases of COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic. There are 132 active cases in the city.
A total of 154 people across the region have died after being infected with the virus, 35 of them in Burlington.
Niagara reported 104 new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday. The region has seen 7,547 cases over the course of the pandemic, including 1,399 that are active.
A total of 289 people have died as a result of COVID-19 over the course of the pandemic.
Meanwhile, 5,859 cases are now marked as resolved.
Niagara Health says as of Thursday, it's restricting general visitation across its sites as part of the COVID-19 response.
As of tomorrow, we're restricting general visitation across our sites as part of our COVID-19 response.<br><br>We know that family and friends play an important role during a patient’s hospital stay, and we encourage virtual visits to connect with loved ones. <a href="https://t.co/m9DlgPUxGt">https://t.co/m9DlgPUxGt</a> <a href="https://t.co/NBxOleF9Ku">pic.twitter.com/NBxOleF9Ku</a>—@niagarahealth
Six Nations of the Grand River has 14 active COVID-19 cases according to Ohsweken Public Health.
There have been 147 cases reported over the course of the pandemic and one death.
A total of 132 cases have been marked as resolved.
Ontario reports 1,670 new cases of COVID-19
Meanwhile, Ontario reported 1,670 new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday, the fewest on a single day since late November.
There are a number of potentially encouraging trends emerging in Ontario's COVID-19-related data.
The seven-day average of daily cases fell to 2,205. It has been in steady decline since its peak on Jan. 11.
Moreover, the number of confirmed, active cases of the illness also continued its downward trajectory to 21,932, as resolved infections have consistently outpaced new cases in recent weeks.
According to the Ministry of Health, the number of COVID-19 patients in hospitals dropped by 84 to 1,382. Of those, 377 were being treated in intensive care and 291 required a ventilator to breathe — down six and seven, respectively, from the day before.
With files from Bobby Hristova