Hamilton sees highest one-day spike of COVID-19 cases since first wave outbreaks

Twenty-four new cases of COVID-19 were reported in Hamilton Thursday — the largest single-day jump seen since the rise in cases related to outbreaks at care homes during the first wave of the virus.

'Keep it local, keep it small' this Thanksgiving, says Dr. Richardson

A sign in a Hamilton neighbourhood says 'Keep Hope Alive' during the COVID-19 pandemic. (Bobby Hristova/CBC News)

Twenty-four new cases of COVID-19 were reported in Hamilton Thursday — the largest single-day jump since outbreaks at care homes during the first wave of the virus.

"These numbers really have come quite far up and we're at the highest number of non-institutional cases that we've ever had at 14 cases per day on [a rolling, seven-day] average," said Dr. Elizabeth Richardson, Hamilton's medical officer of health, during a media update Thursday.

The spike is "really showing there is a resurgence of cases," she added.

Hamilton has seen 1,268 cases since the pandemic began, according to statistics shared by public health Thursday.

Of those, 122 are active, while 1,099 are recovered. Forty-seven people have died.

During a meeting of Hamilton's General Issues Committee (GIC) Wednesday, Richardson said the city saw an average of 11.6  cases per day during the peak of the first wave of COVID-19.

"We're at that point and as of yet haven't shown any signs of slowing down," said the doctor at the time.

While the second rise in cases started with people ages 20-40, Richardson said more recent cases have come from across the age range.

What's more, she said the spread is occurring among people who aren't following public health guidance.

"When we go through and talk to cases we do find that's the case and people who are infected," Richardson explained. "They've not used masks, they've not used physical distancing when they should."

Residents also continue to go out and socialize even after they start showing symptoms, she added.

Limit Thanksgiving to those you live with

On Thursday, Richardson said "people seem to have gotten a little carried away" when case numbers dipped during the summer but noted following public health guidance is especially important as the temperature drops and people come back together indoors.

With Thanksgiving coming up this weekend, city and health officials stressed that residents should only get together with those in their own households.

Mayor Fred Eisenberger pointed out most of the city's new cases are being traced back to social settings where people are coming into close contact with each others while doing things like gathering indoors and sharing food while not wearing masks.

"While these are the kinds of gatherings we all like to have over the Thanksgiving weekend, this year we need to gather with just those that we live with," he said.

Instead, he suggested connecting with loved ones on social media, taking a physically distanced hike or visiting family virtually.

Those who live alone can consider pairing up with another household they trust, said Richardson, but people should "keep it local, keep it small."