Hamilton enters second COVID-19 wave with 41 new cases, says medical officer of health
Ontario saw its biggest increase of cases ever on Monday
Hamilton is following Ontario in entering the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, with 41 new cases here over the weekend, says the city's medical officer of health.
Dr. Elizabeth Richardson says 98 Hamiltonians are known to have the virus right now, for a total of 1,141 since the pandemic started. And the 41 new cases over the weekend is largest jump since May.
"My concern is that is where we're at," she said of a second wave in Hamilton. The number of new cases in Hamilton was down to two or three a day at one point, she said. But the weekend spike shows that trend is gone.
But "we can change it," she said. "We changed it the first time, we can change it again."
Hamilton's dramatic increase comes as Ontario saw its largest ever one-day increase in cases of COVID-19. There were 700 new cases on Monday, of which 344 were in Toronto.
Ontario is embarking on a second wave of the virus, said Premier Ford, and it will be "more complicated, more complex — it'll be worse" than the first.
As for Hamilton, the city has twice before seen increases like this, with a jump of 60 cases on May 14, and 30 cases on April 14. While in the past, a sudden influx of testing results sometimes caused the increase, Richardson says that's not the case this time.
"This is an ongoing trend, unfortunately," she said, and she's "not happy about it." The issue isn't kids returning to school, she said, but people socializing without masks, keeping a physical distance and washing their hands.
"It's still that trend of people socializing and not fully following the public health measures."
There are also two new institutional outbreaks, with one staff case each at St. Peter's at Chedoke and Rygiel Supports for Community Living. Those are the first new institutional outbreaks since July, Richardson said. Six people are also in hospital.
Overall, 997 people have recovered in Hamilton, and 46 people have died.
Dr. Shanker Nesathurai, Haldimand-Norfolk's medical officer of health, told reporters Monday that the counties are watching for an increase in cases. The case count increased by three over the weekend.
People are getting together
Nesathurai urges people to get their flu shots. The vaccine doesn't guard against COVID-19, he said, but it reduces the number of people presenting with symptoms such as cough, fever and chills.
"One thing we are worried about is if we see an increasing number of cases in the health district, will that exhaust our resources when it comes to contact management?" he said. "That's something we'll be monitoring closely going forward."
Dr. Mustafa Hirji, Niagara's medical officer of health, says socializing and work is increasing Niagara's caseload.
"People have many more contacts with other people in their everyday lives than they maybe had a few months ago," he said. "So people having lots of social visits with friends and family and coworkers, etc., and because of that, it creates the possibility that when there is a case of COVID-19, it spreads to many more people than it maybe did in the past."
Here are the numbers for surrounding areas:
Sixteen people are confirmed to have COVID-19 in Brant/Brantford right now. Overall, 187 people have had the virus, of which 166 have recovered and five have died. No one is in hospital.
There were 11 new confirmed cases over the past week, the highest number since April 26, when there were 15. The highest week ever for confirmed cases was 35 on April 5.
Five people are confirmed to have COVID-19 in Haldimand and Norfolk right now. The area has seen 491 cases. Thirty-two people have died and 449 have recovered. There is an outbreak at Delrose Retirement Residence in Delhi.
There are 171 people known to have COVID-19 in Halton right now, and 39 are in Burlington.
Overall, Halton has 14 new cases, and has seen 1,241 cases since the pandemic. Of those, 1,045 have recovered and 25 have died.
In Burlington, there are eight new cases for a total of 262 since the start of the pandemic. Seven people have died and 216 have recovered.
There are 86 people known to have COVID-19 in Niagara right now, a jump from 77 active cases on Sunday, when the area logged 24 new cases. There are a dozen new cases today.
The area has seen 1,060 cases since the start of the pandemic, of which 910 have recovered and 64 have died.
There are active COVID-19 outbreaks at Pioneer Elder Care in St. Catharines and Deer Park Villa in Grimsby, and an outbreak at Rapelje Lodge in Welland, although officials are still determining if the latter is COVID-19.
With files from Bobby Hristova