Hamilton COVID cases on 'steep part of the curve,' charges laid at bakery, bar, parties
Officers called to house parties, gatherings at businesses over holidays
Hamilton reported two more deaths and 94 new COVID-19 cases Monday, as students logged on for the first day of virtual school after winter break.
Meanwhile, the city's chief medical officer said she expects COVID numbers will keep rising.
"We are not showing signs of peaking or flattening here in Hamilton," said Dr. Elizabeth Richardson, Hamilton's chief medical officer, at a media briefing Monday.
"We're very much still on the steep part of the curve."
Mayor Fred Eisenberger said deaths were "dramatically increasing," which he called "unacceptable" and "avoidable."
The city has now seen a total of 6,579 cases since the pandemic began. Of those, 1,603 are active and 4,738 are resolved.
The weekly rate of new cases per 100,000 population has climbed to 161.
The city reported one new outbreak at Blackadar Continuing Care Centre on Monday, where one staff member has tested positive for the virus.
Hamilton confirmed several new outbreaks in the first three days of January, including at the city-run long-term care facility Macassa Lodge. Two residents and three staff members have tested positive as of Monday.
Visiting will not be allowed at this home, said Johnson.
Vaccine distribution ramping up
Dr. Richardson said Hamilton has so far administered 2,200 COVID-19 vaccines.
She said they are currently vaccinating about 250 long-term care workers per day, but hope to ramp up to 500 people per day this week, then 1,000 people a day by next week.
Meanwhile, Hamilton officials implored people to keep following lockdown rules on Monday, after by-law officers charged several people and businesses over the holidays for breaking COVID rules.
"This is not the time to relax," said Fred Eisenberger. "We are shut down for a reason."
School back online
Meanwhile, students in the Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board are back to class this week after winter break—although they'll be learning over the computer.
Elementary school students will learn remotely until Jan. 11, while high school students will attend virtual class until Jan.25, according to Education Minister Stephen Lecce.
Monday was a "transition day" for HWDSB elementary schools, as staff distributed information and technology.
Device distribution is underway 📱 <a href="https://t.co/4eCeRo0YfS">https://t.co/4eCeRo0YfS</a>—@HWDSB
There were eight active COVID-19 cases on Six Nations of the Grand River territory as of Monday, after six new cases were reported on Saturday.
Four new cases were marked resolved in the most recent update.
Six Nations has had a total of 113 cases since the pandemic started, 104 of which are resolved.
One person has died.
Niagara reported 100 new COVID-19 cases on Monday, with 4,398 cases since the pandemic began.
The regional health authority said 1,001 cases were active and 3,255 were resolved.
There are 43 active outbreaks in the area.
One-hundred-and-forty-two people have died.
Brant and Brantford reported 28 new cases Monday, and a total of 983 case since the pandemic began.
Of those, 246 cases are active and 731 are resolved.
The region reported one new death Monday, bringing the total death toll to six.
Four people are currently in hospital.
Halton reported 134 new cases on Monday, with a total of 6,363 cases since the pandemic began.
Of those, 687 are active and 5,557 are resolved.
In total, 119 people have died in the region.
In Burlington, there are 27 new cases reported Monday, for a total of 1,618 in the city. Twenty-five people in Burlington have died.
Haldimand-Norfolk reports 987 cases since the pandemic began, which is 26 more cases since Sunday's report.
Of those cases, 135 cases are active and 812 are recovered.
The region is reporting outbreaks at four long-term care facilities, three congregate living settings, and three farms.
A new outbreak was reported at Cedarwood Village Retirement Apartments in Simcoe. One resident and one staff member have tested positive.
There have been 35 COVID-related deaths confirmed in the region.
At a media briefing Monday, Haldimand-Norfolk Medical Officer of Health Dr. Shanker Nesathurai said he is "quite concerned" about the current case numbers and hospitalizations.
House parties, gatherings at businesses
In Hamilton, Johnson said by-law officers charged several people and businesses over the holidays for breaking COVID rules.
He said the city got nearly 200 complaints between Dec. 24th and this weekend.
Officers were called to several house parties at private residences, said Johnson, adding more small gatherings likely happened under the radar.
Four charges were laid at De Rosa Bakery, after an alleged mask-less gathering to watch a TV sports event, said Johnson.
An alleged New Years Eve gathering at the Last Call Bar resulted in five charges, said Johnson.
Johnson said about 15 people gathered at a closed Tim Horton's on South Service Road for a staff gathering.
"Social gatherings inside—outside of those members of your household—are not allowed," said Johnson, who urged people to make sacrifices.
"I think people are still trying to find ways around things all the time."
Johnson said this is a "very serious time" for Hamilton, and restrictions need to be "as tight as ever."
Johnson also asked people to stay off outdoor ice rinks when they are not in operation.