Mayor in self-isolation not affecting Hamilton's pandemic response, says director
'I don't have any indication we have symptomatic staff,' says Paul Johnson
The mayor may be in self-isolation while awaiting the results of a test for COVID-19, but his absence hasn't affected the Hamilton's pandemic response, according to the director of the city's emergency operations centre.
Paul Johnson stressed that Mayor Fred Eisenberger had only been tested for the virus and has not received the result.
It was out of an "abundance of precaution and no change in the way things are getting done," he said during a media update Friday afternoon. "We certainly wish the mayor a speedy return."
Deputy Mayor and Ward 6 Councillor Tom Jackson stood in for the mayor during the update as Eisenberger, who was tested Friday, is isolating at home.
The mayor's test came after he experienced several symptoms of the virus Thursday morning, according to his office.
Staff have pledged to release the 67-year-olds test results as soon as they become available.
Jackson described Eisenberger's test as a reminder the virus is still in the community, adding he spoke to the mayor yesterday and that he seemed to be "in good spirits."
Johnson said he had swapped texts with Eisenberger and even shared a "light-hearted moment" where the mayor joked he was following the advice officials have repeatedly shared during their updates to stay home and contact public health.
The director said he was not personally aware of the symptoms the mayor is experiencing, adding he wouldn't share them even if he was.
"I don't have any indication we have symptomatic staff as a result of that either," he added.
Johnson also declined to provide any details about who was in close contact with the mayor and is self-isolating, citing privacy.
"It's no secret the mayor was in city hall as part of council on this past Wednesday so there are a few staff people, obviously, that are connected with us having to do the virtual council meetings," he said.
No more case number updates on weekends
Hamilton has a total of 823 cases of COVID-19 (814 confirmed and nine probable) as of Friday, which is four more than Thursday.
Of those, 730 people have recovered (89 per cent) and 44 have died, meaning there are 49 active cases, which is one more from the day before.
Seventeen people with virus remain in hospital. There are no outbreaks in the city.
An age distribution of positive cases in the past 10 days shared by public health points to the fact that younger people are continuing to contract the virus at a higher rate.
Twenty-three per cent of the 44 cases recorded (10) were kids between zero and nine, while 20 per cent were between 10 and 19. People between 20-29 and 30-39 also accounted for 14 per cent and 16 per cent respectively.
Dr. Ninh Tran, associate medical officer of health, announced several changes to public health's response.
Starting today, staff that have been tracking the number of cases throughout the weeks will move to a Monday-Friday schedule, so updates will not be provided during the weekend.
Officials will also change the way they collect age-based data, by switching to the date cases are reported rather than when symptoms first appeared.
Finally, the drive-thru testing centre is set to be closed for Canada Day, but will reopen again after the holiday.
There are 15 active cases of COVID-19 in Burlington as of Friday.
All told, 170 cases have been confirmed in the city since the beginning of the pandemic. Of those, 148 are resolved and seven people have died.
Overall, Halton reported seven more recoveries and three new confirmed cases. There are now 52 active case in the region which has seen a total of 814 during the pandemic (736 confirmed, 78 probable). Twenty-five people have died.
There are outbreaks at CAMA Woodlands (no current resident cases), Creek Way Village (one resident) and Billings Court (one resident) in Burlington. One resident at Billings Court has died.
The Niagara Region added one new case Friday for a total of 749. Of those, 661 are resolved and 61 people have died, so there are 27 people currently known to be infected with the virus.
Outbreaks are ongoing at Crescent Park Lodge in Fort Erie and Garden City Manor in St. Catharines.
The overall number of confirmed cases in Brant/Brantford held steady at 121. Two people currently have COVID-19, while 115 have recovered and four have died.
An outbreak at Telfer Place Retirement Residence in Paris where two staff members have tested positive for the virus is still ongoing.
One more person has recovered from COVID-19 in Haldimand and Norfolk counties, raising that number to 185.
The area has seen a total of 446 confirmed cases throughout the pandemic, including 217 associated with Scotlynn Group in Vittoria — 199 migrant farm workers, and 18 people associated with the farm.
Thirty-two people have died of the virus. There are 229 active cases in the counties.