COVID-19 doubles every five days in Hamilton, urging leaders to stress the need to stay home for Passover, Easter, Baisakhi and Ramadan.
“We have some impact,” said Dr. Elizabeth Richardson, Hamilton’s medical officer of health, explaining that the virus would double every two to three days if no physical removal measures were in place.
“It is absolutely time to double these measures. “
To help prevent the spread of the virus, Hamilton city council adopted a physical distance bylaw on Wednesday that requires people to stay within two meters of anyone who is not a member of their household. Fines for individuals range from $ 500 to $ 25,000, while corporations face penalties from $ 50,000 to $ 100,000.
Hamilton’s regulations are in addition to Ontario’s, which makes it illegal to gather in groups of five or more people who do not live in the same household (except in certain circumstances such as grocery stores). Celebrations with family and friends in private homes are currently not allowed under the Emergency Management and Emergency Preparedness Act, with fines starting at $ 750.
“Maintaining our collective determination to chart the curve will be a challenge as the weather warms up and the holidays approach,” said Dr. Theresa Tam, Chief Public Health Officer of Canada, on Wednesday.
“This is the critical time to maintain our physical distance,” she said. “It means having dinners with household members only and connecting virtually. “
The chalet is also out of bounds this long weekend, as rural health systems are not equipped for influx of patients and grocery stores only have enough stock for local residents.
“We cannot overstate this point,” said Premier Doug Ford. “They don’t have as many acute care beds as we do here in major urban centers.”
The city announced at its weekly online Wednesday meeting that it will convert Hamilton’s largest stadium, FirstOntario Center, into a COVID-19 homeless emergency shelter.
Emergency Operations Center director Paul Johnson said the downtown arena’s “emergency” shelter will be equipped with 50 beds to help ease the burden of city shelters that don’t just don’t have the space to impose a physical distance.
City Council also approved a temporary land assistance program on Wednesday that provides flexibility in penalties and interest for those who are unable to pay by the April and June due dates. Burlington has adopted similar measures.
The federal government had 1.72 million people applying for Canadian emergency response benefits in the first two days alone, and that only includes people with a birthday between January and June. Since March 15, more than four million Canadians have applied for EI benefits.
In addition, GO Transit cut services further on Wednesday and the federal government announced changes to the Canada Summer Jobs program to help students find jobs during the winter.
Maple Leaf Foods reported a case of COVID-19 at the Heritage plant in Hamilton.
“The affected team member had not been present at the factory for two weeks before the diagnosis,” the company said on Wednesday. “We have completed a complete remediation at Heritage and the plant is fully operational.”
On Wednesday, confirmed cases in Hamilton climbed from 15 to 198. Almost a quarter have now been acquired through community spread of the virus.
Seven of the Hamilton cases are children and adolescents.
The people most at risk are the nearly 45% with co-morbidities and a quarter of the cases aged 65 or over.
The five Hamilton deaths occurred in people between the ages of 80 and 100, including three following the outbreak at the Heritage Green Nursing Home in Stoney Creek and one at the Cardinal retirement home on Herkimer Street.
These epidemics continued to spread, with Heritage Green now having 11 confirmed cases among residents and three among staff. In Cardinal, it’s 16 sick residents and five employees.
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There are also outbreaks among staff at the Wentworth Lodge in Dundas and in the special care nursery at St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton which cares for sick and premature babies.
Almost 40% of Hamilton’s cases have been resolved, which means they have improved.
“The world is in a difficult place,” said Federal Minister of Health Patty Hajdu on Wednesday. “We are trying as best we can to overcome a global pandemic – a virus (for which) there is no cure or vaccine. “
In Ontario, there have been 174 deaths, including two in Halton and six in Haldimand and Norfolk.
Halton now has 228 cases – including 49 in Burlington – while Six Nations has nine. There are 110 cases in Haldimand and Norfolk, many of which have been linked to an outbreak at the Anson Place long-term care home in Hagersville.
Ontario now has 5,276 confirmed cases of COVID-19, up from 4,726 on Tuesday. But only high priority groups are tested, which Ford says will change.
“What is absolutely unacceptable is the number of tests we do,” said Ford of the current number of about 3,000 a day.
“No more excuses,” he said. “We say we can do 13,000 a day, so we have to start doing 13,000 every day.”
After recommending earlier this week that people protect others by wearing homemade masks when they go out in case they have COVID-19 and don’t know it, Tam said some vulnerable groups shouldn’t cover themselves the face.
“In particular, face covers could pose a risk of suffocation for babies and children under two years of age,” she said.
In addition, it is dangerous for “anyone who has difficulty breathing and others who cannot remove the mask by themselves”.
One day after Hamilton hospitals announced drastic cuts in services to clean hundreds of beds for COVID-19 patients, the federal health minister called it “a huge sacrifice.”
“These are difficult and heartbreaking decisions,” said Hajdu. “They are not taken lightly. “
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau warned that even after the peak will be a slow and gradual relaxation of physical distance and “even if things can start to return to normal, they will not. “