Hamilton officials preventing COVID-19 'second wave'

News Sep 24, 2020 by Kevin Werner Stoney Creek News

As coronavirus cases gradually rise across the province and in the city, Hamilton officials are fearful any potential lockdown will devastate the local economy and create additional stress among residents.

“I’m hoping there isn’t a second wave,” said Mayor Fred Eisenberger. “(Business owners) have told me we can’t survive a second wave. We have to do everything to avoid that from happening.”

Yet, associate medical officer of health Dr. Ninh Tran said during the city’s Sept. 23 general issues committee meeting the number of cases in Hamilton has jumped over several weeks from the summer.

“What we are seeing recently are more and more cases are part of larger parties, at homes, backyards, going to cottages with a group of friends,” said Tran.

Hamilton had its 46th death on Sept. 20, an 83-year-old woman, who had a history of travelling.

The city has 73 active case and, since the pandemic began, has had 1,094 total cases. There have been 975 cases resolved.

Ontario recorded 335 new cases of the virus Sept. 23 after a few days of over 400 cases, including 478 on Sept. 22. The province’s seven-day rolling average stands at 386, an increase from 243 a week ago.

And the number of patients receiving hospital care from the coronavirus is 88, double the number from a week ago.

The spike in cases has prompted residents to swarm the city’s current four testing centres. The latest facility was opened at St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton’s West 5th campus and accepts people by appointment only. The city also has testing sites at urgent care centres in the west and east end in Stoney Creek and a drive-thru site at the Dave Andreychuk Arena on the Mountain.

But Paul Johnson, director of the Emergency Operations Centres, said the mountain area facility will be closed in October and its resources relocated to the West 5th site.

“Our arenas are not the best places for testing centres,” said Johnson.

Tran said the city has been receiving up to 3,000 calls per day to book an appointment to get tested, an increase from just a week ago of about 1,000 calls per day and a significant jump from a few hundred calls during the summer.

Tran said public health officials are “working towards a new model for booking as well as expanding access to testing” and officials are expecting to update councillors on the plan soon.

“We are expanding testing as best we can,” said Tran.

He said the province recently announced that pharmacies will be testing people for coronavirus on Sept. 24, but by appointment only. He said the first of those 60 pharmacies are located the Greater Toronto Area, where case numbers have been on the rise. Tran said he expects, eventually, pharmacies in Hamilton will be allowed to conduct tests.

The explanation didn’t sit well with a few councillors who have been fielding calls from residents about long lines at testing centres.

Stoney Creek Coun. Brad Clark said a resident waited four days to get an appointment for a test. The person has to then wait days again for the test results, potentially losing revenue from work since they have to self-isolate, he said.

“It seems problematic in the midst of a pandemic we can’t get the testing done that is required to ensure residents are safe,” said Clark.

Meanwhile, Eisenberger said city officials may return to providing three-times-a-week briefings to the community that were conducted at the start of the pandemic to keep residents informed about what the city is doing to address the pandemic.

“Communication is the key,” said Eisenberger. “I think it is time to pick that up.”

While Johnson agreed with the mayor, he didn’t want to take up valuable broadcasting time to keep telling residents what they can’t do.

“We need to put our thinking caps on about whether we should be doing these things,” he said.

Johnson said other developments as the city slowly reopens include allowing in-person council and committee meetings at city hall starting no later than in November. A report to council is expected to be provided in October, said Johnson.

The city is also reopening Fieldcote Memorial Park and Museum and Ancaster’s Old Town Hall, along with Battlefield House and Museum in Stoney Creek on Sept. 30. In addition, Sackville Senior Centre, Warden Senior’s Club and Winona Senior’s Club will reopen Oct. 5.

And since coronavirus measures have been installed by the province, the city’s bylaw enforcement officers have investigated about 3,000 calls, said Ken Leendertse, director of bylaw enforcement. For instance, officers laid more than 70 charges at the Devil’s Punchbowl in Stoney Creek for people not physically distancing or using the area while it was closed.

As of now, said Leendertse, the department has received 11,000 calls, nearly double the usual 6,000 calls the service receives at this time of year.

“It has been a challenge to say the least,” said Leendertse. “We are keeping up. The team is tired."

Hamilton officials concerned about impact of COVID-19 'second wave'

News Sep 24, 2020 by Kevin Werner Stoney Creek News

As coronavirus cases gradually rise across the province and in the city, Hamilton officials are fearful any potential lockdown will devastate the local economy and create additional stress among residents.

“I’m hoping there isn’t a second wave,” said Mayor Fred Eisenberger. “(Business owners) have told me we can’t survive a second wave. We have to do everything to avoid that from happening.”

Yet, associate medical officer of health Dr. Ninh Tran said during the city’s Sept. 23 general issues committee meeting the number of cases in Hamilton has jumped over several weeks from the summer.

“What we are seeing recently are more and more cases are part of larger parties, at homes, backyards, going to cottages with a group of friends,” said Tran.

Hamilton had its 46th death on Sept. 20, an 83-year-old woman, who had a history of travelling.

The city has 73 active case and, since the pandemic began, has had 1,094 total cases. There have been 975 cases resolved.

Ontario recorded 335 new cases of the virus Sept. 23 after a few days of over 400 cases, including 478 on Sept. 22. The province’s seven-day rolling average stands at 386, an increase from 243 a week ago.

And the number of patients receiving hospital care from the coronavirus is 88, double the number from a week ago.

The spike in cases has prompted residents to swarm the city’s current four testing centres. The latest facility was opened at St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton’s West 5th campus and accepts people by appointment only. The city also has testing sites at urgent care centres in the west and east end in Stoney Creek and a drive-thru site at the Dave Andreychuk Arena on the Mountain.

But Paul Johnson, director of the Emergency Operations Centres, said the mountain area facility will be closed in October and its resources relocated to the West 5th site.

“Our arenas are not the best places for testing centres,” said Johnson.

Tran said the city has been receiving up to 3,000 calls per day to book an appointment to get tested, an increase from just a week ago of about 1,000 calls per day and a significant jump from a few hundred calls during the summer.

Tran said public health officials are “working towards a new model for booking as well as expanding access to testing” and officials are expecting to update councillors on the plan soon.

“We are expanding testing as best we can,” said Tran.

He said the province recently announced that pharmacies will be testing people for coronavirus on Sept. 24, but by appointment only. He said the first of those 60 pharmacies are located the Greater Toronto Area, where case numbers have been on the rise. Tran said he expects, eventually, pharmacies in Hamilton will be allowed to conduct tests.

The explanation didn’t sit well with a few councillors who have been fielding calls from residents about long lines at testing centres.

Stoney Creek Coun. Brad Clark said a resident waited four days to get an appointment for a test. The person has to then wait days again for the test results, potentially losing revenue from work since they have to self-isolate, he said.

“It seems problematic in the midst of a pandemic we can’t get the testing done that is required to ensure residents are safe,” said Clark.

Meanwhile, Eisenberger said city officials may return to providing three-times-a-week briefings to the community that were conducted at the start of the pandemic to keep residents informed about what the city is doing to address the pandemic.

“Communication is the key,” said Eisenberger. “I think it is time to pick that up.”

While Johnson agreed with the mayor, he didn’t want to take up valuable broadcasting time to keep telling residents what they can’t do.

“We need to put our thinking caps on about whether we should be doing these things,” he said.

Johnson said other developments as the city slowly reopens include allowing in-person council and committee meetings at city hall starting no later than in November. A report to council is expected to be provided in October, said Johnson.

The city is also reopening Fieldcote Memorial Park and Museum and Ancaster’s Old Town Hall, along with Battlefield House and Museum in Stoney Creek on Sept. 30. In addition, Sackville Senior Centre, Warden Senior’s Club and Winona Senior’s Club will reopen Oct. 5.

And since coronavirus measures have been installed by the province, the city’s bylaw enforcement officers have investigated about 3,000 calls, said Ken Leendertse, director of bylaw enforcement. For instance, officers laid more than 70 charges at the Devil’s Punchbowl in Stoney Creek for people not physically distancing or using the area while it was closed.

As of now, said Leendertse, the department has received 11,000 calls, nearly double the usual 6,000 calls the service receives at this time of year.

“It has been a challenge to say the least,” said Leendertse. “We are keeping up. The team is tired."

Hamilton officials concerned about impact of COVID-19 'second wave'

News Sep 24, 2020 by Kevin Werner Stoney Creek News

As coronavirus cases gradually rise across the province and in the city, Hamilton officials are fearful any potential lockdown will devastate the local economy and create additional stress among residents.

“I’m hoping there isn’t a second wave,” said Mayor Fred Eisenberger. “(Business owners) have told me we can’t survive a second wave. We have to do everything to avoid that from happening.”

Yet, associate medical officer of health Dr. Ninh Tran said during the city’s Sept. 23 general issues committee meeting the number of cases in Hamilton has jumped over several weeks from the summer.

“What we are seeing recently are more and more cases are part of larger parties, at homes, backyards, going to cottages with a group of friends,” said Tran.

Hamilton had its 46th death on Sept. 20, an 83-year-old woman, who had a history of travelling.

The city has 73 active case and, since the pandemic began, has had 1,094 total cases. There have been 975 cases resolved.

Ontario recorded 335 new cases of the virus Sept. 23 after a few days of over 400 cases, including 478 on Sept. 22. The province’s seven-day rolling average stands at 386, an increase from 243 a week ago.

And the number of patients receiving hospital care from the coronavirus is 88, double the number from a week ago.

The spike in cases has prompted residents to swarm the city’s current four testing centres. The latest facility was opened at St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton’s West 5th campus and accepts people by appointment only. The city also has testing sites at urgent care centres in the west and east end in Stoney Creek and a drive-thru site at the Dave Andreychuk Arena on the Mountain.

But Paul Johnson, director of the Emergency Operations Centres, said the mountain area facility will be closed in October and its resources relocated to the West 5th site.

“Our arenas are not the best places for testing centres,” said Johnson.

Tran said the city has been receiving up to 3,000 calls per day to book an appointment to get tested, an increase from just a week ago of about 1,000 calls per day and a significant jump from a few hundred calls during the summer.

Tran said public health officials are “working towards a new model for booking as well as expanding access to testing” and officials are expecting to update councillors on the plan soon.

“We are expanding testing as best we can,” said Tran.

He said the province recently announced that pharmacies will be testing people for coronavirus on Sept. 24, but by appointment only. He said the first of those 60 pharmacies are located the Greater Toronto Area, where case numbers have been on the rise. Tran said he expects, eventually, pharmacies in Hamilton will be allowed to conduct tests.

The explanation didn’t sit well with a few councillors who have been fielding calls from residents about long lines at testing centres.

Stoney Creek Coun. Brad Clark said a resident waited four days to get an appointment for a test. The person has to then wait days again for the test results, potentially losing revenue from work since they have to self-isolate, he said.

“It seems problematic in the midst of a pandemic we can’t get the testing done that is required to ensure residents are safe,” said Clark.

Meanwhile, Eisenberger said city officials may return to providing three-times-a-week briefings to the community that were conducted at the start of the pandemic to keep residents informed about what the city is doing to address the pandemic.

“Communication is the key,” said Eisenberger. “I think it is time to pick that up.”

While Johnson agreed with the mayor, he didn’t want to take up valuable broadcasting time to keep telling residents what they can’t do.

“We need to put our thinking caps on about whether we should be doing these things,” he said.

Johnson said other developments as the city slowly reopens include allowing in-person council and committee meetings at city hall starting no later than in November. A report to council is expected to be provided in October, said Johnson.

The city is also reopening Fieldcote Memorial Park and Museum and Ancaster’s Old Town Hall, along with Battlefield House and Museum in Stoney Creek on Sept. 30. In addition, Sackville Senior Centre, Warden Senior’s Club and Winona Senior’s Club will reopen Oct. 5.

And since coronavirus measures have been installed by the province, the city’s bylaw enforcement officers have investigated about 3,000 calls, said Ken Leendertse, director of bylaw enforcement. For instance, officers laid more than 70 charges at the Devil’s Punchbowl in Stoney Creek for people not physically distancing or using the area while it was closed.

As of now, said Leendertse, the department has received 11,000 calls, nearly double the usual 6,000 calls the service receives at this time of year.

“It has been a challenge to say the least,” said Leendertse. “We are keeping up. The team is tired."