'No dismay' about not entering Stage 3 of provincial reopening plan, says mayor
People who tested at Mountain arena can return there to ask for results
Hamilton may not be entering Stage 3 of the province's reopening plan along with much of Ontario Friday, but there's "no dismay," says mayor Fred Eisenberger.
Allowing areas with a lower population and COVID-19 case count to move forward first will give officials a chance to see how the next phase rolls out and monitor it for any issues, he said.
"Lessons learned can be applied to any openings in the higher-density areas," Eisenberger explained, noting he expects the exclusion to be short lived.
"We're a week and a half away from getting into Stage 3 unless something dramatic happens and I can't foresee that happening."
There were two more confirmed positive cases of COVID-19 in Hamilton as of 9 a.m. Tuesday, bringing that total to 860.
Of those, 800 are recovered and 44 people have died, meaning there are 16 active cases of the virus in the city.
Twenty-four health units in Ontario will move to the next stage on July 17. Hamilton and nine other regions will not.
The delay will allow business owners to review what's needed to reopen and take time to put in "really good protocols" to maintain physical distancing and hygiene, said Paul Johnson, director of Hamilton's emergency operations centre.
Bylaw officers will also continue to enforce the rules around COVID-19 even when the city does enter Stage 3, he added.
"We won't step aside if there are egregious examples of people continuing not to follow the guidelines."
While there's been talk about life "returning to normal," Hamilton's Medical Officer of Health Dr. Elizabeth Richardson said it's not that simple.
"We really need to understand that we're living in a world with COIVD-19 and it's making us rethink a lot of things," she cautioned.
People have to "stay on guard" to fight off fatigue around public health guidelines that are in place to keep them safe such as hand washing and wearing a mask in crowded areas, she said.
In the meantime, the city continues to open up.
Workaround for test results at arena
The first and second floor of city hall will be open again as of 8:30 a.m. on July 20. However, there will be a few changes.
Visitors will be screened for symptoms of COVID-19 and capacity on the first floor will be limited to 40 people.
A temporary workaround has also been set up for those frustrated by a long wait for their test results from the drive-thru site at the Dave Andreychuk Arena.
The first option is always to check the province's online portal of contact your primary healthcare provider, said Richardson.
But, if four days have gone by and someone still hasn't received their result they can now go to the arena's main entrance, present a government-issued ID and ask for staff there to check.
"A nurse will be there at the main entrance to retrieve results through a different portal they have access to," said Richardson.
The COVID-19 numbers in Haldimand and Norfolk remained unchanged Tuesday.
There are 16 active cases in the counties. A total of 444 lab-confirmed cases have been tallied since the beginning of the pandemic. Of those, 396 have recovered and 32 people have died.
Brant/Brantford have added one new case of the virus.
There have been 134 confirmed cases in the area. Of those, 119 have recovered and four people have died, meaning there are 11 active cases.
Public health officials say they've been notified about a second employee at the Brantford Lowe's testing positive for the virus.
The county says the worker's role didn't put them in direct contact with customers, but people who visited the store between June 28 and July 9 are still being asked to monitor themselves for symptoms until July 23.
On Monday health officials also became aware of a positive test for an employee who worked at both the Ferrero plant in Brantford and Adidas Warehouse in Brant.
"As of today, there has been one close contact established at the Ferrero plant," stated the health unit in a media release.
"Out an abundance of caution, Ferrero has chosen to ask additional employees to stay home and seek testing before returning to work."
Four more confirmed cases of COVID-19 were reported in the Halton Region Tuesday, while three more people recovered.
There are 43 active cases in the area which has seen 880 total cases since the pandemic began.
Of those, 812 have recovered, while 25 people have died.
In Burlington, 10 people are known to have the virus right now. The city has seen 180 cases, of which 163 have recovered and seven have died.
Twenty-six people in Niagara currently have COVID-19.
The region has seen a total of 783 cases, including 693 which are resolved. Sixty-four people have died of the virus.
Ohsweken Public Health confirmed a new, positive case of COVID-19 on Six Nations Territory Monday.
The new case brings the total since the beginning of the pandemic to 15. One person has died.