Moderna vaccine will start being used in Hamilton on Saturday
Active cases in Hamilton are falling, but the city can't account for 285 people with COVID-19
The Moderna vaccine for COVID-19 will start being used in Hamilton on Saturday according to the city.
The Moderna vaccine, which doesn't need to be stored at roughly -70 C like Pfizer/BioNTech, still requires two doses, but will be available at the fixed Hamilton Health Sciences site and the mobile clinic.
The city says it has administered 9,200 vaccines through the fixed-site clinic and roughly 1,200 through the mobile clinic.
The mobile clinic is also aiming to finish its job of vaccinating all long-term care home residents and those living in high-risk retirement homes — including residents of homes that are currently in outbreak — in the next five days.
The next step for the mobile vaccination clinic will begin on Jan. 21, according to the city, with the vaccination of residents and staff in other retirement homes.
The general public is expected to be able to get a free vaccine by the end of the year.
Mandatory masking expanding in Hamilton
Hamilton has expanded mandatory masking to some outdoor activities as it struggles to keep track of the status of people with the virus.
The city is asking people to wear masks while using outdoor skating rinks, tobogganing hills, escarpment stairs, and playgrounds and play structures,
It comes as the local public health unit cannot account for 285 people with the virus.
Jacqueline Durlov, a spokesperson for Hamilton Public Health Services, said those cases have "unknown outcomes."
"These are cases that we have been unable to make contact with after the 14-day isolation period to follow-up," she wrote.
"This is standard across all health units, and most of them add them to the 'resolved' column. We are currently exploring ways to address this in our public reporting of data in order to make it easier to understand."
Public health has previously said it has been stretched to capacity in its contact tracing and has changed what data it tracks to keep up with the case load.
Active cases fall, but people who had virus keep dying
Hamilton reported 136 new cases on Friday.
The number of active COVID-19 cases in Hamilton is at 972, which marks a steady drop in the past few days. Still, public health reported four new deaths on Friday.
Three of them were 80 or older and one person was in their 70s.
The city's weekly rate of new cases per 100,000 people also fell for a second time this week, now sitting at 138 (it was previously at 148 but dropped to 143), indicating that the virus is spreading slower.
There have been 7,959 total cases (confirmed and probable) and 6,489 resolved cases according to local data.
The city has total 36 outbreaks, three of which are new.
Four staff members at ArcelorMittal Dofasco have the virus, according to the data. So do three workers at accounting firm Pettinelli Mastroluisi. One staff member at Rygiel Supports for Community Living is also infected.
Meanwhile, the outbreak at the Good Shepherd, where one employee had the virus, has been declared over.
Six Nations to impose strictest COVID-19 restrictions
Six Nations of the Grand River is entering its Black alert level on Monday as Ontario continues its stay-at-home order.
"Due to the rise in case numbers not only in the community, but in surrounding communities combined with the recent provincial stay-at-home order, this tells us that we have to move into the black COVID-19 alert level to prevent any further spread of the virus and to protect our community." said Elected Chief Mark Hill.
The move to the black means a total restriction of any gatherings outside of one's immediate household (except people who live alone, they can link up with one other household), and the advisory to avoid all non-essential travel unless for essential purposes only (including but not limited to work, health care, and groceries).
Businesses are also being advised to offer delivery, curbside and other contactless transactions only. Schools, daycares, gyms, the bingo hall, sports facilities and other personal care services will remain closed. Businesses will also need to designate essential workers only to work within all community workplaces.
Local public health states the Six Nations Police Service noted a "concerning amount of quarantine checks coming to their office from the border crossing services, which tells us that members are continuing to frequently travel and cross borders."
"Cross border travelling should only happen for essential workers and compassionate family issues at this point in alert level black."
At least four paramedics have been vaccinated and Six Nations also put out a warning to residents to ignore anyone trying to sell the COVID-19 vaccine.
There are six active cases of the virus in the community. There have been 127 cases in total and one death.
142 vaccinations in Haldimand-Norfolk on Wednesday
There are 15 new known COVID-19 cases in Haldimand and Norfolk counties.
There have been 1,166 confirmed cases since March, including 162 that are active and 962 that are resolved.
One more person died, bringing the total number of deaths to 37.
On Wednesday, 109 residents and 33 staff at Grandview Lodge received their first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine.
"We know this isn't a cure and that we're still in this battle, but there is a sense of relief knowing we are now better protected," said Jennifer Jacob, Grandview Lodge's administrator.
Mayor Ken Hewitt said it means everyone is "one step closer to beating this virus."
Niagara police chief speaks about COVID-19
Niagara's police chief says the public should be "shocked and outraged" about the number of people who have died after contracting COVID-19 and issued an open letter encouraging people to stay home.
"When I think about the loss of life in our community that we would experience in 'normal times,' I think about issues like traffic fatalities or incidents of homicide," he wrote on Friday.
"Over the last decade, in Niagara, we experience about 20 traffic related fatalities and about five deaths related to homicide each year. To put COVID-19 fatalities into that context, it means that the deaths we have seen in just 10 months across the Niagara Region are the equivalent of 10 years of traffic fatalities and more than 40 years of homicide related deaths."
"Our citizens and our community leaders, rightfully so, would be shocked and outraged if we experienced this level of death as a result of criminal conduct in our community, and we need to take a similar approach to COVID-19 and the actions we collectively take to prevent further death," read his letter.
An open letter from <a href="https://twitter.com/ChiefMacCulloch?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@ChiefMacCulloch</a> to <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Niagara?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Niagara</a> as we continue to see the impact of <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/COVID19?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#COVID19</a><a href="https://t.co/GuPYSR7qw9">https://t.co/GuPYSR7qw9</a> <a href="https://t.co/ds5jpR6m0F">pic.twitter.com/ds5jpR6m0F</a>—@NiagRegPolice
While he emphasized he wasn't accusing the public of committing a crime, he said the pandemic-era deaths are often tied to "human error."
"Staying home during the provincial lockdown is not just the right thing to do because if you don't you will be punished, but because morally and ethically, it is the right thing to do."
There were 152 new COVID-19 cases in the Niagara region, bringing the total to 6,262 since the start of the pandemic. Of those 1,556 are active and 4,493 are resolved. Five more people died, bringing the total to 213.
The region has had 608 people vaccinated so far, according to Niagara Region Public Health.
2 Fortinos workers in Burlington get COVID-19
Two Burlington grocery store workers have COVID-19 according to Loblaw.
A Fortinos worker at the store on 1059 Plains Rd East last worked on Jan. 9 and a Fortinos worker at the store on 2025 Guelph Line last worked on Jan. 10
Halton public health saw 86 new cases on Friday. There are 536 active cases and have been 7,370 cumulative cases. There have also been 6,697 resolved cases and 137 deaths.
27 new cases in County of Brant
Data from the Brant County Public Health Unit shows there were 27 new cases of the virus, bringing the total to 1,239.
There are 158 active cases, two people in hospital and 1,075 resolved cases.
Six people have died and 281 vaccinations have been administered.