March 1 2021
HAMILTON, ON – Earlier today, Mayor Fred Eisenberger joined Dr. Elizabeth Richardson, Medical Officer of Health, and the City’s Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) Director, Paul Johnson to update media and the community on the City’s response to COVID-19.
As of 9 am this morning, there are a total of 10,511 cases, an increase of 54 positive cases from yesterday, and 283 total deaths from COVID-19 in Hamilton. We are also reporting that of the 10,511 cases, 9,620 or 92% are resolved, resulting in 449 active cases. More details about cases are available on the City’s website including demographics, risk factors, exposure, etc.
COVID-19 Hotline for vaccination registration of those 85 years and older
Hamilton Public Health Services (HPHS) understands that there has been frustration and dissatisfaction with the hotline over the weekend and today from members of our community. Public Health apologizes for the distress this has been causing.
HPHS and the City’s IT team continue to work with the telecom service provider to increase capacity to handle a higher volume of calls. HPHS has both extended the hotline hours to 9 pm and increased the number of staff answering calls. These actions should help to reduce wait times, however HPHS continues to monitor in case additional action is needed as call volumes remain very high.
The province is working on providing public health units with a booking tool to launch on March 15. Once this is ready, the following age groups will become eligible to register for a COVID-19 vaccination: 3rd week of March for those 80 years old or older, April 15th for those aged 75+, May 1st for those aged 70+, June 1st for those aged 65+, and July 1st for those 60 and older.
Those not 85 years and older, should not be calling to register for a vaccine at this time. Information regarding registration, booking, and sequencing will be available on the COVID-19 vaccines section of the City’s website at www.hamilton.ca/COVIDvaccines.
City opens second temporary isolation shelter
Hamilton’s homelessness serving system continues to see a rise in COVID positive individuals and outbreaks, including a growing outbreak at Salvation Army Booth Centre. Today, the City of Hamilton opened a second temporary isolation shelter located at Central Memorial Recreation Centre in an effort to break the cycle of COVID-19 transmission amongst shelter residents and staff, and to preserve shelter system capacity.
This location will begin accepting a small number of COVID positive individuals this evening for approximately three weeks. This isolation shelter is only available for those who have been assessed and referred by shelter and health officials. The City is supporting the temporary isolation shelter with safe and orderly transportation to the site, 24-hour on site staff, 24-hour security, enhanced indoor and site cleaning, personal protective equipment, and individual client supports to promote isolation. Health supports for guests are available through the Shelter Health Network.
While under considerable pressure, Hamilton’s homelessness service system is still accepting new admissions. Housing Services continues to monitor shelter and homelessness system capacity and continues to develop and implement contingency plans, together with health care and homelessness system partners, to ensure for the safe operation of spaces, and ensure that system capacity is preserved. In January the City reopened an emergency isolation shelter at Bennetto Recreation Centre to ensure homelessness system clients who had tested positive for COVID-19 had a place to safely isolate if they were required to do so. The isolation shelter at Bennetto remains open.
The City thanks our partners in the homelessness system for their perseverance and their compassionate care to clients during this very difficult and trying period. The City also thanks North End, and Stinson Neighbours for their support of this community health response.
Redeployment of City Staff to Support Vaccination Efforts; Some Service Impacts
The City of Hamilton is providing staff resources to support vaccination efforts in the community. To date, 358 City employees have been formally redeployed to support the COVID-19 response.
With the vaccine clinics beginning to ramp up, the City will be redeploying and hiring additional staff to accommodate a seven-day, 12 hour per day operation. Redeployments will be strategic to ensure essential services and other pandemic response efforts are not impacted. However, there will be some impacts to City services, including:
- All museums will remain closed, except for Dundurn Castle and Military Museum, which is targeting to re-open by the end of March.
- Flamborough, Stoney Creek, Ancaster, Glanbrook and Dundas Municipal Service Centres will close to the public when staff are redeployed.
- In the Forestry program there will be a reduction in proactive tree maintenance and resident requests for service will be prioritized for potential risk to people and property. There will be delays in responding to non-hazardous calls until back to full staffing. Around-the-clock response to storm damage will remain, but as always calls will be prioritized based on risk to public and property.
New COVID-19 mobile community testing rolls out in Hamilton
Starting this week, mobile community testing will roll out in specific areas across the city in an effort to reduce barriers to testing. These areas have been identified by Hamilton Public Health Services as having low testing rates, high COVID-19 incidence rates, and/or barriers to accessing current COVID-19 Assessment Centres.
The city’s first community testing sites will be offered in partnership with the Hamilton Regional Indian Centre (HRIC) to provide convenient and accessible testing for the local Indigenous community, as well as individuals who fall within the Ontario provincial guidelines. Dates are scheduled for Thursday, March 4 and Friday, March 5 from 1 to 4 pm at the HRIC, 34 Ottawa Street North, Hamilton. No appointments are required.
Services will be delivered by Hamilton Paramedic Services in partnership with Hamilton Public Health Services and Hamilton healthcare partners. Additional pop-up community testing sites will be implemented in priority neighbourhoods on an as needed basis. In cooperation with HSR, a bus will be used to support mobile testing where a site cannot be set-up within an existing facility.
Learn more about the COVID-19 symptoms, testing guidelines and assessment centre locations at www.hamilton.ca/COVIDtesting.
Updates to Outdoor Ice
Waterdown Memorial Park Outdoor Ice Rink is closed for the season effective today, March 1. The remaining City of Hamilton outdoor ice rinks will close as of March 7 or sooner based on weather conditions. To learn more, visit www.hamilton.ca/recreation/drop-in-skate
“To reduce the spread of COVID-19 and its variants in our community, we must continue to follow public health guidelines and not let our guard down. Each of us remains the first line of defence against the spread and the daily choices we make and the preventative actions we take now can help save lives. COVID-19 vaccines are one of the most effective tools to protect the health of our community and I encourage all Hamiltonians to get the vaccine when it is available to you.”
- Mayor Fred Eisenberger