Officials say Hamilton seeing 'significant compliance' with mandatory mask bylaw so far
'We get the odd case where someone calls in and upset,' says bylaw director
Just a few days into Hamilton's mandatory face-covering bylaw, officials are seeing "significant compliance" and only the "odd case" of upset residents.
The city's bylaw office has fielded more than 330 calls with questions about the new rules, according to Ken Leendertse.
"Mostly people asking about exceptions and … what their rights are as far as denying people entry if they don't have a mask," explained Hamilton's director of licensing and bylaw services.
"We get the odd case where someone calls in and upset a business has refused them entry and they're asking for advice."
Bylaw will focus on education and awareness for the first three weeks following the bylaw coming into effect on July 20, he added, so no tickets have been handed out so far.
The goal is not to punish people, Leendertse said, but to help change the culture in the city.
"You're not going to go anywhere that there's other people without a mask."
Bylaw watching bars and patios
The total number of COVID-19 cases in Hamilton fell to 881 Wednesday, three fewer cases than were listed just two days before.
Of those, 872 cases are confirmed, while nine are probable. Ninety-three per cent of cases (821) are resolved.
Seven people in the city are currently known to have the virus and 44 people have died.
There's one outbreak — a staff member at the Community Living Hamilton Mountain Residence has tested positive.
Dr. Ninh Tran, associate medical officer of health, explained the difference in case total saying numbers of the city's website aren't static.
He said the case statistics decrease for three main reasons:
- Officials learn a case previously attributed to Hamilton actually doesn't live here.
- There are "rare" cases where someone is double-counted after being retested.
- False positives are recorded.
"There are times where we on further examination, follow up with the labs re-test for people who have no symptoms, no exposures … we do find some false positives here and there," said Tran.
As the city prepares to enter Stage 3 of the province's reopening plan Friday and residents are able to eat and drink inside bars and restaurants, the doctor said it's important that people continue to practice good hand hygiene, follow physical distancing and keep their faces covered while in enclosed public spaces.
Bylaw officers are also "proactively monitoring some bars that have traditionally had problems," according to Leendertse.
"In particular the patios that seem to be more at the edge of bothering communities and neighbourhoods."
Here's a look at the COVID-19 status for other cities and counties in the surrounding area.
There were four new cases of COVID-19 in Niagara Wednesday, on top of the nine reported the day before.
The region has seen 813 cases since the pandemic began. Sixty-four people have died and 705 have recovered.
There are 44 active cases in the area and five outbreaks are ongoing.
Four people in Brant/Brantford are known to have the virus. None are in hospital.
The county has seen 136 cases during the pandemic as of Wednesday. Four people have died, while 128 have recovered.
Fifteen members of the Six Nations of the Grand River have had COVID-19 since the pandemic began.
Thirteen of those cases are recovered, one is active and one person has died.
SITUATION REPORT & COVID-19 MAPS<br>As at: July 21, 2020<br>Brought to you by <a href="https://twitter.com/healthy6nay?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@healthy6nay</a> <a href="https://t.co/BsyH0c5zOP">pic.twitter.com/BsyH0c5zOP</a>—@SixNationsGR
The two counties have a combined 19 known COVID-19 cases right now.
The total number of confirmed cases is 446. Of those, 395 people have recovered and 32 have died.
There are 30 active COVID-19 cases in Halton now. The region has tallied 898 cases (813 confirmed, 54 probable).
Of those, 843 people have recovered and 25 people have died.
In Burlington, 10 people are known to have the virus. The city has seen a total of 185 cases, of which 168 have recovered and seven have died.