Five new COVID-19 outbreaks in Hamilton on Friday

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Hamilton reported 64 new COVID-19 cases and five new outbreaks on Friday, as presumed variant cases continued to rise.

The city now has 398 active cases, a decrease for the fourth straight day. The number of cases which screened positive for a variant rose by seven, bringing it to 88.

All COVID-19 cases in Ontario are now screened for the COVID-19 variants that first appeared in the U.K., South Africa and Brazil. Cases that screen positive for a variant are then sent for confirmation. Nearly all those cases end up being confirmed, according to Hamilton’s medical officer of health.

To date, Hamilton has had four confirmed cases of the B.1.1.7 strain, which first appeared in the U.K.

The city reported five new outbreaks on Friday. Queen’s Garden long-term-care home on Queen Street North is back in outbreak with one staff case as of March 3, a day after its previous outbreak was declared over.

AbleLiving Services Supportive Housing in the Strathcona neighbourhood has one staff case in the outbreak declared March 4. The facility offers apartments with 24-hour care for people with disabilities.

The Carlisle Retirement Residence, on Main Street East at Wentworth Street South, has one staff case.

St. Michael Catholic Elementary School on the Mountain and Hillfield Strathallan College, near Mohawk College, each have two cases.

New cases were also reported in ongoing outbreaks at shelters. Two more patron cases were reported at the Salvation Army Booth Centre at 94 York Blvd. There have now been 54 cases in this outbreak, of which 43 are patron cases. The Good Shepherd Men’s Centre on Mary Street reported one new staff case, bringing it to three. There have been 12 cases in the outbreak.

Four new staff cases were reported at Hamilton-Wentworth Detention Centre on Barton Street East.

As of Thursday, Public Health Ontario was reporting a reproduction number of 1.03 for Hamilton, a slight improvement from the 1.11 rate one week prior, but still higher than the 0.7 threshold suggested for fast-spreading variants.

Public health reported no new deaths on Friday.

Maria Iqbal, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Hamilton Spectator