Hamilton

Public health orders 5 retirement homes to improve infection control as city has no new cases

Hamilton health officials have issued orders to 43 retirement, residential and long-term care homes, requiring them to improve infection controls in order to curb the spread of COVID-19 or face consequences.

City believes it is at, or just past, the peak says Dr. Richardson

Hamilton public health officials have ordered a total of 43 facilities to improve their infection controls. There were no new cases of COVID-19 in the city as of noon Wednesday. (Dan Taekema/CBC)

Health officials have ordered 12 more Hamilton facilities, including five retirement homes, to improve infection controls and help curb the spread of COVID-19 or face consequences.

Staff began inspecting the homes over the weekend as part of preventative efforts amid the pandemic, said Dr. Elizabeth Richardson, the city's medical officer of health, during a virtual town hall Wednesday evening.

The other seven orders under the Health Promotion and Protection Act went to three residential care facilities and four homes that offer both residential and retirement care after required improvements were not made.

"This is a reminder of things they need to do," said Richardson.

The city issued another 31 orders to residential facilities last week. Richardson said each of those issues has since been resolved. Only one facility inspection is outstanding, but public health staff are working with the retirement home and say they don't expect any further orders.

There was some good news for the city Wednesday. Richardson said there were no new cases of COVID-19 as of noon.

Hamilton was "stable at 354 cases," said the doctor, who noted 171 of those cases — nearly 48 per cent — are resolved.

Richardson also provided some detail about the city's 17th death, a 96-year-old woman who lived at The Cardinal Retirement Residence. That home, along with four others, is the site of an institutional outbreak of the virus.

When asked about provincial projections shared this week that say the community spread of the virus appears to have peaked, Richardson said a similar pattern has been observed in Hamilton.

"The good news .. they feel the peak may well have passed," she said. "We're thinking we may be just at or past that point."

Richardson said it's clear staying home and maintaining physical distancing has had an impact, but said those efforts will need to continue in order to protect vulnerable populations.

About 90 people have received tickets under COVID-19 related laws so far, said Paul Johnson, director of the city's emergency operations centre.

Bylaw officers have not fined any homeless people, but police have ticketed some he added. Johnson did not provide a specific number, saying only it was "very few" and tickets were used as a "last resort."

He said police told him some of those tickets were given after repeated attempts at education and "ancillary behaviour such as public urination and open alcohol bottles that were complaint driven by the public."

About 50 people are currently using the emergency homeless shelter at the FirstOntario Centre and hotel spaces are also being used to house some people who would otherwise be in women's and family shelters, according to Johnson. 

The one person who was staying at the city's COVID-19 isolation shelter has since recovered.

Brant

Meanwhile, Brant County had 78 confirmed cases of COVID-19 for the second straight day Wednesday, according to the county's public health unit.

A total of 1,889 people have been tested for the virus to date. Fifty cases are considered resolved, while five people remain hospitalized. Three people have died.

Outbreaks have been declared at the Telfer Retirement Home and St. Joseph's Lifecare Centre, which each have one staff member who has tested positive for the virus.

In a statement Tuesday Dr. Elizabeth Urbantke, the county's acting medical officer of health, pointed to the provincial projections.

"We are starting to see a similar trend locally with the curve starting to flatten," she wrote. "We will continue to see new cases but the rate of change is decreasing."

Haldimand-Norfolk

Twenty-eight people have died of COVID-19 in Haldimand Norfolk as of Wednesday — including 24 at Anson Place Care Centre in Hagersville.

The nursing home is the site of one of the deadliest outbreaks of COVID-19 in the province. Seventy-one residents, or three-quarters of the people living there, have tested positive for the virus, as well as 30 staff.

The area has a total of 167 lab-confirmed cases. Thirty-five people have recovered from the virus.

The Port Dover Lions Club has cancelled its annual Canada Day celebrations, including the boat parade, concert and fireworks. The annual fish fry planned for June 6, then rescheduled to Aug. 15, is also cancelled.

It's a "great disappointment," said president Paul Boulanger.

"Not being able to celebrate with our community will not be easy. However, the club will use this time to make these annual events bigger and better in 2021."

Halton

There are 447 cases in the Halton Region, with 394 confirmed and 53 probable. Eighty-nine of those cases are in Burlington.

Nine outbreaks have been declared, with a total of 71 confirmed cases. The vast majority, 63, are at Mountainview Residence — a retirement home in Halton Hills. Joseph Brant Hospital also has three cases.

Sixteen people in Halton have died to date.

Niagara

Statistics for the Niagara Region show the area has at total of 405 cases Wednesday. Public health says 217 of those cases are active, while 154 have recovered from the virus.

Thirty-four people in Niagara have been killed by COVID-19 so far.

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