A city transformed: One week of COVID-19 in Hamilton
There are 19 confirmed cases of coronavirus in Hamilton after one week — but it feels like a whole new city
It has been just one week — seven days — since Hamilton saw its first COVID-19 case and in that time daily life has transformed as the city, the province and the country have taken significant steps in an effort to avoid more infections.
Now, there are 19 confirmed cases in Hamilton and the novel coronavirus is said to be "out in the community" as health officials can no longer link one local case to travel abroad.
Businesses have closed, streets have emptied, the city has shuttered most of its services and across the city people adapt to a new life of social distancing.
Here's a look at how it all unfolded:
Day 1 — Mar. 11
Hamilton area's first COVID-19 case
CBC News learns a Hamilton Health Sciences radiation oncologist is the area's first confirmed positive case of COVID-19. The doctor saw 11 patients before she became symptomatic and sought testing. The doctor lives in Burlington and is officially a Halton case.
Hamilton Health Sciences responds
Juravinski Cancer Centre is "open for business" and hospital officials say the situation is under control a day after learning a doctor working there had tested positive for COVID-19.
City of Hamilton provides update
Hamilton will have more COVID-19 cases, says the mayor, and he believes the city is as prepared as it can be.
Day 2 — Mar. 12
Hamilton's first official COVID-19 case
A 52-year-old man has tested positive for COVID-19 after returning to Hamilton from a trip to New York City. He's Hamilton's first confirmed case of the new coronavirus — and the second with a connection to the city.
Exposed cancer patients wait in isolation
When Lynne Ballantyne, 76, arrived at Juravinski Cancer Centre for her radiation appointment on Wednesday, she was immediately brought into a room and told to wait — then Ballantyne learned she had been directly exposed to COVID-19. She was one of the patients who had been seen by a cancer doctor earlier in the week who had tested positive.
Questions arise about cancer patients in self-isolation
The 11 Hamilton area cancer patients who are in isolation after the doctor treating them was diagnosed with the COVID-19 virus are in unknown territory when it comes to the disease.
Ontario public schools shut down
The Ontario government closes all publicly funded schools across the province for two weeks in addition to the upcoming March Break as an effort to control the spread of COVID-19.
Parents scramble amid nixed classes
Thousands of parents and families in the Hamilton and Niagara region try to adjust at the last minute as news spreads that all of Ontario's publicly funded schools will close for two weeks following March Break due to concerns about COVID-19.
Day 3 — Mar. 13
International travel not recommended
The federal government warns against all international travel and limits inbound flights as part of a series of measures to limit the spread of COVID-19.
Niagara's first COVID-19 case
An 84-year-old man is the Niagara Region's first confirmed case of COVID-19. Brock University and Niagara College also cancel all face-to-face classes and the City of St. Catharines announces it's closing all its recreational and community facilities to cut down on the spread of the virus.
Hamilton shelters still planning for COVID-19
Hamilton's social service agencies say they're working out the details around what will happen if someone staying in their shelters has to isolate themselves because of COVID-19.
City-run programs and events suspended
All programs and events run by the City of Hamilton are temporarily suspended as part of its expanding COVID-19 emergency response plan.
Local colleges and universities go digital
McMaster University and Mohawk College suspend all in-person classes as of the end of the day Friday in response to concerns about the spread of COVID-19.
Six Nations discuss COVID-19
In a rare move, the elected council of Six Nations of the Grand River joins forces with the confederacy chiefs council to respond to COVID-19.
Day 4 — Mar. 14
4 new COVID-19 cases in Hamilton
There are now 5 cases of COVID-19 in the city. A three-month-old child, a couple in their 60s and one other person account for the new coronavirus cases in Hamilton, according to Dr. Elizabeth Richardson, the city's medical officer of health. And in Halton, a Burlington woman in her 50s has also tested positive for the novel coronavirus.
Hamilton libraries, rec centres, arenas close
The decision to shutter city services follows consultation with Hamilton's Medical Officer of Health Elizabeth Richardson and is meant to protect vulnerable populations including the elderly and those with compromised immune systems, according to a media release.
Mayor addresses hoarding at grocery stores
No fighting, no hoarding and "please only take what you need." That's the message from Hamilton Mayor Fred Eisenberger in response to bare shelves at stores across Hamilton — cleared out by people bent on stocking up amid rising concerns around COVID-19.
Day 5 — Mar. 15
Niagara's second COVID-19 case
A 55-year-old St. Catharines woman has tested positive for the novel coronavirus, marking the second confirmed case of COVID-19 in the Niagara region.
Nursing homes and hospitals limit visitors
Hamilton is following the province's orders to not allow visitors into long-term care facilities as COVID-19 cases continue to pop up in Ontario. Local malls also reduce store hours.
Metrolinx cuts GO services in Hamilton and Niagara
Metrolinx announces reduced GO train and bus services starting Wednesday which almost completely cancel some Hamilton bus routes and affected others.
Hamilton provincial offences courts close
In another effort to prevent the spread of COVID-19, the city of Hamilton stops provincial offences court services until further notice.
Hamilton residents fight COVID-19 with kindness
Thousands of locals join an online group to help deliver items to those who can't afford them or can't get around the city easily.
Day 6 — Mar. 16
5 new COVID-19 cases in Hamilton
The number of coronavirus cases in Hamilton climbs to 10 after five new cases are announced Monday, but local medical officials warn they expect the number to grow fast.
Hamilton assessment centres open
A group of Hamilton health organizations say there'll be a testing centre at the Hamilton Health Sciences Urgent Care Clinic at 690 Main St. W., and another at 2757 King St. E., which is the King campus of St. Joseph's Healthcare.
Canada clamps down on borders
Canada bars entry to all travellers who are not Canadian citizens, permanent residents or Americans, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced today — one of a set of extraordinary new measures being introduced to stop the spread of COVID-19.
'The time to act is now'
Widespread community transmission of COVID-19 is likely underway in Canada, experts say, warning that Canadians need to heed advice from public health officials and do their part to prevent it from getting out of control.
'No gatherings of over 50'
Ontario's top medical official recommends Monday that bars and restaurants, daycares and places of worship close to help stem the spread of COVID-19, as authorities said community transmission can no longer be ruled out.
Day 7 — Mar. 17
COVID-19 now 'out in the community'
Hamilton has 15 confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus as of Tuesday and its first positive case that is not related to travel. The city also introduced new isolation sites and drop-in centres open for the city's most vulnerable citizens.
Ontario reports 1st COVID-19-related death
"Stay home, stay informed, stay healthy and stay calm."
That was the message from Ontario's chief medical officer of health, Dr. David Williams, as the province declared a state of emergency on Tuesday in a bid to combat the spread of COVID-19 and prevent the novel coronavirus from overwhelming the health-care system.
Bar and restaurant owners close shop
Empty stools and empty tables are the scene at Hamilton's favourite businesses in the wake of a wave of closures to fight the spread of COVID-19.
McMaster University shutters residence
McMaster University asks all students living on campus to move out as more coronavirus cases appear in Hamilton and across the country.
Street team help the homeless
A street team are hitting downtown Hamilton Tuesday afternoon to reach out to the homeless and intravenous drug users, a group it says is quickly being left behind in COVID-19 plans.
Hamiltonians abroad look for ways back
A Hamilton couple in Spain and an Ancaster couple in Chile don't know when they will return home as borders around the world tighten.
Niagara opening COVID-19 assessment centres
Niagara Health is opening its first COVID-19 assessment centre today, and another is on the way.
Day 8 — Mar. 18
4 new COVID-19 cases in Hamilton
There are four new confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Hamilton, at least four in Halton and one in Brant, according to the latest numbers from the province. The city of Hamilton is also holding a viritual town hall today to discuss the novel coronavirus.
HSR buses now free to ride
In another response to promote social distancing and tend for the city's most vulnerable, HSR buses will be free to ride, but passengers must enter through the rear doors.
Federal aid and restricted access to U.S.
A federal economic aid package worth $82 billion was unveiled Wednesday to help Canadian workers and businesses weather the COVID-19 storm — and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says Canada and the U.S. have agreed to temporarily close their shared border to non-essential travel.
Food producers worry about supply chain
While the country's top grocers assure Canadians they'll be able to keep up with demand amid the COVID-19 outbreak, food producers are expressing concern over the impact border restrictions could have on Canada's agricultural food production.
With files from CBC News