With lockdown ending, Hamilton reports 156 new COVID cases over long weekend

·2 min read

Hamilton recorded four COVID-19 deaths over the Family Day long weekend — including the youngest one so far — and 156 new cases as the city is set to move out of lockdown on Tuesday.

On Saturday, a person in their 30s became the youngest reported to have died with COVID-19 in Hamilton. It is unclear if the individual had underlying health issues. Public health includes all COVID-19 patients in its death count regardless of whether the virus contributed to the death.

After midnight on Monday, Hamilton was to move out of the stay-at-home order and into the “red-control zone,” the second-highest level of the province’s COVID-19 framework.

The move comes despite concerns from Hamilton’s medical officer of health about new COVID-19 variants. The variant first discovered in the U.K. has already appeared in Haldimand-Norfolk.

Dr. Elizabeth Richardson said residents should continue to stay home, avoid gatherings and non-essential travel — including to other regions — and limit close contact to their household, to avoid a third wave of the pandemic.

The other deaths reported over the weekend included two people aged 80 or older, and one person in their 60s.

There were no new deaths on Monday, but public health reported 72 new cases in the city. A new staff case was also linked to the outbreak at Juravinski Hospital’s E2 unit, which now has 44 cases.

Hamilton has 320 active cases as of Feb. 14 at 3 p.m., after the count dropped below 300 on Sunday for the first time since November.

On Sunday, Hamilton’s active cases fell from 347 to 283 after public health reported “-21” new cases without explaining why.

“Case numbers are always subject to change,” said a statement from James Berry, a spokesperson for the city public health department.

That followed the city reporting its highest single-day jump in cases since Jan. 22, when public health reported 105 new cases on Saturday.

There were 146 “other” cases as of Feb. 14 at 3 p.m., which was no change from Sunday. These are cases which public health couldn’t locate or which were tracked by a different health authority.

Hamilton has now had 9,817 cases in the pandemic. Seventeen more cases were hospitalized over the weekend and 142 cases were resolved since Friday. The city’s weekly rate of new cases per 100,000 also grew Monday from 34 to 37. On Friday, it was 43.

Maria Iqbal, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Hamilton Spectator