COVID-19 in Hamilton: Here's what you need to know today
The city has confirmed 5 new coronavirus cases Monday, bringing the total to 10
Almost a week since Hamilton's first confirmed case of COVID-19, daily life is changing dramatically for many as the city and province have taken significant steps in an effort to avoid more infections.
More announcements of closures, cancelled services and other restrictions came over the weekend.
Now, there are 10 confirmed cases in Hamilton.
The city has opened its first two COVID-19 Assessment Centres open today at the Urgent Care Centre on 690 Main Street West and the St. Joseph's King Campus on 2757 King Street East.
Monday also marks the first day with no public school running, no libraries open, cancelled provincial offences court cases, reduced business hours and shuttered city services.
"This is an ever-changing situation with major changes happening quickly including last night with the school boards closing for two weeks after March break, the recent travel announcements from the federal government and Canada Public Health recommending the cancellation of large gatherings," Mayor Fred Eisenberger said in a media release on Friday.
"We know you are worried about your health, about your families' health, about your job about school cancellations. We will get through this together. In these uncertain times, we must ensure we support each other and our community."
Over the weekend, long-term care facilities in the city stopped allowing access to visitors and hospitals restricted access to guests.
Restaurants and stores are still open but casinos are closed as well as the city libraries, rec centres and museums, among other services.
Public health officials are urging travellers coming from abroad to avoid all non-essential travel outside of the country, return to Canada if they are travelling abroad and embrace social distancing on a massive scale in an effort to flatten the epidemic curve of the outbreak.
On Wednesday, locals can expect fewer transit options as Metrolinx also tries to mitigate COVID-19.
"We will continue to monitor and respond to this rapidly evolving situation to ensure we are providing the best support possible to the community as we work together to find our way through this challenging time," Eisenberger said.
"We know you are worried about your health, about your families' health, about your job about school cancellations. We will get through this together."
The province announced additional resources for Telehealth Ontario on Monday as the network deals with an influx of inquiries about COVID-19, and officials are set to provide details on new legislation aimed at helping workers affected by measures to contain the novel coronavirus.
Authorities announced at least 172 confirmed cases in Ontario, including five cases listed by the province as resolved.
Possibility of community transmission
Though no Ontario cases have been confirmed by health authorities as resulting from community transmission, some experts say its likely that this kind of spread is already underway.
Canada's Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Theresa Tam said Sunday that 25,000 COVID-19 tests have been done across the country to date and there has been a "rapidly increasing" number of cases, particularly in Ontario, B.C. and Alberta.
"Our window to flatten the curve of the epidemic is narrow," Tam said.
Electricity won't be cut off
Alectra Utilities, which provides electricity to homes across the Golden Horseshoe, says it won't cut off anyone's power.
"Alectra will work with customers to provide flexible payment terms," it said in a release, "and will not disconnect customers during this time of uncertainty."
The utility says it "prepares year-round for the unexpected and is equipped to deliver reliable service to its customers across 17 communities, even in uncertain times. Alectra has initiated detailed pandemic plans to ensure the health, safety and physical well-being of customers, employees and the public."