Heat wave amid COVID-19 pandemic prompts city to open some facilities as cooling shelters
The recreational uses at the centres and libraries will remain closed because of COVID-19
Six recreation centres and one library have opened in the city's response to the heat wave that has hit Hamilton in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Paul Johnson, director of the city's emergency operations centre, said splash pads and pools will remain closed but noted some more libraries may also be open soon— but just to provide shelter from the sweltering heat.
"These are really meant just as areas for people who need to cool down, our recreation facilities will not be open," Johnson explained during the virtual media briefing on Monday.
"Library [facilities] are not open right now so how do we keep people from using the libraries and book materials because they're not open to the public?"
The opened areas as of Monday include:
Central Memorial Community Centre.
Ryerson Recreation Centre.
Norman Pinky Lewis Rec Centre.
Bernie Morelli Recreation Centre.
Stoney Creek Rec Centre.
Rosedale Arena & Senior Centre.
Hamilton Central Library.
Johnson also said people should not be using HSR buses to escape the heat.
Johnson said the city didn't expect the heat — which could feel as hot as 38 C on Tuesday — to arrive until June. It's unclear how many people the centres can hold but Johnson explained there will be active screening at each location.
"If a count gets near where the facility is at its maximum, we will need to find an alternative," he said.
"Our historical work around these centres is they are not the first destinations people are going to, so we'll see what happens this year because I think a lot of the traditional places like malls and other areas are not available so this may be a year where we see that."
Dr. Elizabeth Richardson, Hamilton's medical officer of health, said the heat warning will likely remain in effect until Wednesday.
"Having a heat warning during a pandemic is something of course we've never had to do before but I think we've implemented a good solution that balances the need to provide cooling places with the need to maintain a safe distance from others."
Hamilton and Six Nations
Hamilton has 647 cases of COVID-19 as of Monday morning, up nine from Sunday. The virus has killed 32 people, two of whom died over the weekend. An 84-year-old man and a 79-year-old woman died, both were residents of the the Rosslyn Retirement Residence, which has been linked to 85 COVID-19 cases.
Sixty-four people are in hospital and 421 have recovered from the virus in Hamilton. There are seven institutional outbreaks including at Hamilton General Hospital, announced over the weekend.
Six Nations of the Grand River has one new case of COVID-19 today, the second positive result in a week, bringing the total of confirmed cases to 13 and one death. Six Nations is also opening up testing to anyone who wants it.
Brant has three more positive cases of COVID-19, bringing the total to 108. The virus has killed three, while four are still in hospital and 93 people have recovered.
There are 210 cases of COVID-19 in Haldimand and Norfolk counties, including two new cases. The virus has killed 31, but 93 have survived.
There are 694 COVID-19 cases (619 confirmed, 75 probable) in Halton, an increase of seven from Sunday. Of those, 521 people have recovered and 25 have died. Burlington has 136 cases (119 confirmed, 17 probable) and seven deaths.
There are 633 cases of COVID-19 in the Niagara region, only 81 of which are still active. The virus has killed 58 but 494 have recovered.
Niagara Health, the hospital network, is accepting self-referrals for COVID-19 testing.