City ponders virtual memorial wall for Hamiltonians who died from COVID-19
1 more person has died in Hamilton
The City of Hamilton will explore creating a virtual memorial wall for Hamiltonians who died after contracting COVID-19.
Coun. Brad Clark (Ward 9) raised the idea during Wednesday's general issues committee, noting most families haven't had a chance to hold a celebration of life for those who lost their battles with the virus because of pandemic shutdowns.
"The  deaths really at this point are a statistical number that we use. But each one of them is a life and a family behind it," he said.
He hoped the wall would be a way for families to remember their loved ones, but also share how COVID-19 has impacted them in order to educate the community about the struggles of others.
Council voted unanimously for staff to review how this could be done, and if it was feasible.
Matthew Grant, director of communications and intergovernmental relations, said he'll update council on aspects involved, such as privacy and seeking information and confirmation from family members.
The suggestion came as Hamilton saw one more death, bringing the total amount of people who died in the city after contracting the virus to 277. The city has reported the person in its database as being in their 70s.
There are 42 new cases of COVID-19 as of Wednesday, and the city has seen 9,919 since the start of the pandemic.
The weekly rate of new cases per 100,000 people in the city is at 41.
Paul Johnson, director of the city's emergency operations centre, said staff are also working on videos that "tell the story" through the eyes of people who have seen the effects of COVID-19 in various ways, such as losing loved ones and working in health care.
He said the city needs to continue to find ways to highlight that this virus has taken lives, made people ill, and that people still struggle with it after recovering from the worst symptoms.
Coun. Jason Farr (Ward 2) said the city manager of public art has been working on pieces celebrating first responders, and said there could be a tie in. If the virtual wall is a success, he said, then perhaps something can be done that's more permanent.
"God knows they could use a few contracts these days," Farr said of local artists.
Outbreaks at Stelco, Barton jail
There is a new outbreak at Stelco, 386 Wilcox Street, where three staff have tested positive.
The outbreak at Hamilton-Wenworth Detention Centre has grown to include nine people. Two are inmates and seven are staff, according to the city.
The Ministry of the Solicitor General says it's aware of the outbreak, and any inmate who tests positive is isolated from the rest as they receive medical care. Voluntary testing is ongoing, it said.
Inmate COVID-19 cases at all Ontario adult correctional facilities are posted online. The ministry says it's made operational changes at facilities across the province, including screening and testing all newly admitted inmates with their consent, housing them in a separate area for 14 days, among others.
The outbreaks at Hamilton Health Sciences's Juravinski Hospital, Unit F5, and Lakeview Retirement Centre in Stoney Creek have been declared as over.
Four more patients have tested positive for COVID-19 as linked to St. Joseph's Healthcare Hamilton alternate health facility 5th floor outbreak. The total number of people infected is 20.
One more resident has tested positive at Queen's Garden Long-Term Care Home.
There have been 11 new cases of COVID-19 reported in Brant and Brantford within the past 24 hours.
There have been 1,410 confirmed cases in the county so far. Of those, 27 were active on Wednesday and 1,371 were resolved.
Twelve people have died. There are no currently hospitalized cases.
The counties of Haldimand and Norfolk have recorded 1,384 cases throughout the pandemic. There are 15 active cases.
There have been 39 deaths that are considered COVID-related. There have been 1,325 people who have recovered.
Niagara reported 14 new cases of the virus on Wednesday.
One more person has died, bringing deaths in the region to 362.
The region has seen 8,399 cases over the course of the pandemic, including 323 that are active and 7,714 that are resolved.
The number of COVID-19 cases in Halton rose by 20 on Wednesday for a total of 9,093 so far.
Data indicates 264 of those cases are active and 8,644 are resolved.
One of the new cases was in Burlington, which has seen 2,348 cases of COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic. There are 38 active cases in the city.
There have been 185 people who have died after being infected with the virus across the region, of which 49 were in Burlington.
Six Nations of the Grand River has recorded 42 active cases of COVID-19 as of Feb. 17. There have been 243 total cases, and 198 are resolved. Three people have died.
With files from Desmond Brown