COVID-19 spreads to 27 at Hamilton nursing home; Ontario in a ‘race against the virus,’ Doug Ford says

News Mar 31, 2020 by Joanna Frketich The Hamilton Spectator

COVID-19 has spread rapidly through Heritage Green Nursing Home with 17 residents and 10 staff currently ill on multiple floors of the Stoney Creek long-term care centre.

A second vulnerable population is also at risk after the Salvation Army confirmed Monday that a man who stayed at its men's shelter on York Boulevard has tested positive for COVID-19.

ArcelorMittal Dofasco has announced its first case in an employee who works in pickling and cold roll. The company said in a statement Monday that close contacts of the worker are self-isolating.

In addition, a Six Nations Police officer in the plainclothes unit tested positive for COVID-19. The officer has been in self-isolation since March 17.

In preparation for an anticipated surge of COVID-19 patients, Joseph Brant Hospital is building a temporary pandemic response unit. The modular structure will have 93 beds and connect to the south tower.

Efforts to stop the spread of COVID-19 ramped up Monday with those over the age of 70 told to stay home always.

Concern over the virus potentially overwhelming the health-care system was evident in the tone of Premier Doug Ford's daily update.

"Every week, every day, every hour we can push back that surge is another week, another day, another hour that we have to prepare," he said. "The hard truth is that the more time we have, the more lives we can save."

Acknowledging for the first time that there is not enough personal protective equipment on hand for health-care workers in case of a surge, he expressed frustration with the "packed" streets over the weekend.

"Our story in Ontario can be different than Italy and Spain's but only if we take this seriously," said Ford.

Calling the next few weeks "critical," he said "everything is on the table" to get Ontarians to stay home. The state of emergency and closures is being renewed for another two weeks.

Ontario's chief medical officer of health strongly recommends people only leave their homes to access health-care services, shop for groceries, pick up medication, walk their pets and support vulnerable community members.

People with compromised immune systems and underlying health conditions were also told not to heave their homes, along with those over the age of 70. The government is investing $10 million to help community organizations deliver meals, medicines and other necessities to seniors — who are also recommended to contact friends and family for help.

"We're in a race right now," said Ford. "We're in a race on supplies that are in desperate need around the world and in a race against this virus."

The city has set up a snitch line at 905-546-CITY to report non-essential businesses remaining open or gatherings larger than five people (other than in excepted cases such as bigger households, emergency daycares and grocery stores).

"Our bylaw officers are working alongside the police to enforce that," said Paul Johnson, director of the Emergency Operations Centre.

The city is also asking for donations of equipment such as gloves, masks and sanitizers for health-care workers at 905-546-2424, ext. 2257, or ppe@hamilton.ca.

Federal public health officials continued to ask the general public not to use precious masks when they go outside for essential trips.

"Putting a mask on an asymptomatic person is not beneficial," said Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada's Chief Public Health Officer. In fact, she said people can inadvertently infect themselves by using and removing masks improperly.

The federal government has the Canadian Armed Forces at the ready in case they are needed to help out communities overwhelmed with COVID-19, but so far no province has asked for assistance.

Provincewide, the number of cases is now at least 1,706, compared to 1,355 on Sunday as Ontario works its way through a backlog of tests.

But the numbers are old, as Hamilton public health says the results coming in now date back as far as March 9, making it difficult to know how many people actually have COVID-19 in the community.

Hamilton saw another surge of 21 confirmed cases Monday to bring the total to 91. Halton had 11 more cases, so it's now at 36.

There are four young people under the age of 20 with COVID-19 in Hamilton, including two babies.

Also at higher risk are the 19 people age 65 and over. More than one-third have underlying health conditions.

But these numbers don't include the rising cases at Heritage Green, as public health has stopped testing there and is just assuming all with symptoms have COVID-19. The home has 167 licensed beds, so it has now reached the point that more than 10 per cent of the residents are ill.

"You can see the impacts these outbreaks can have in long-term care homes and why it is just so important we work hard to keep the virus out of any of these places," Hamilton's chief medical officer of health, Dr. Elizabeth Richardson, said Monday. "I appreciate the numbers are large and we're very concerned."

She said the Ministry of Health has inspectors working with the home in a supportive role to make sure there is enough personal protective equipment and staff for it to continue operating.

"Over the last two days we've seen an increase in outbreaks and deaths at long-term care homes," said Ford. "We must do everything we can to prevent the further spread in these homes."

One of Ontario's 33 deaths is a resident from Heritage Green. So far, the rest of the ill residents are at the home.

There have been 12 people hospitalized so far in Hamilton for COVID-19, including a baby at McMaster Children's Hospital.

Hamilton now has 21 cases with no connection to international travel, showing the spread in the community.

The Salvation Army case is still under investigation, however, Richardson said homeless people are "definitely one of the vulnerable populations."

The man was transported from the Booth Centre in a special DARTS vehicle to Bennetto Community Centre, which has been converted into an isolation space for homeless people who test positive for the virus.

—With files from Teviah Moro

COVID-19 spreads to 27 at Hamilton nursing home; Ontario in a ‘race against the virus,’ Doug Ford says

Anyone 70 or older told to stay home as virus confirmed in Hamilton shelter, Dofasco

News Mar 31, 2020 by Joanna Frketich The Hamilton Spectator

COVID-19 has spread rapidly through Heritage Green Nursing Home with 17 residents and 10 staff currently ill on multiple floors of the Stoney Creek long-term care centre.

A second vulnerable population is also at risk after the Salvation Army confirmed Monday that a man who stayed at its men's shelter on York Boulevard has tested positive for COVID-19.

ArcelorMittal Dofasco has announced its first case in an employee who works in pickling and cold roll. The company said in a statement Monday that close contacts of the worker are self-isolating.

In addition, a Six Nations Police officer in the plainclothes unit tested positive for COVID-19. The officer has been in self-isolation since March 17.

Related Content

In preparation for an anticipated surge of COVID-19 patients, Joseph Brant Hospital is building a temporary pandemic response unit. The modular structure will have 93 beds and connect to the south tower.

Efforts to stop the spread of COVID-19 ramped up Monday with those over the age of 70 told to stay home always.

Concern over the virus potentially overwhelming the health-care system was evident in the tone of Premier Doug Ford's daily update.

"Every week, every day, every hour we can push back that surge is another week, another day, another hour that we have to prepare," he said. "The hard truth is that the more time we have, the more lives we can save."

Acknowledging for the first time that there is not enough personal protective equipment on hand for health-care workers in case of a surge, he expressed frustration with the "packed" streets over the weekend.

"Our story in Ontario can be different than Italy and Spain's but only if we take this seriously," said Ford.

Calling the next few weeks "critical," he said "everything is on the table" to get Ontarians to stay home. The state of emergency and closures is being renewed for another two weeks.

Ontario's chief medical officer of health strongly recommends people only leave their homes to access health-care services, shop for groceries, pick up medication, walk their pets and support vulnerable community members.

People with compromised immune systems and underlying health conditions were also told not to heave their homes, along with those over the age of 70. The government is investing $10 million to help community organizations deliver meals, medicines and other necessities to seniors — who are also recommended to contact friends and family for help.

"We're in a race right now," said Ford. "We're in a race on supplies that are in desperate need around the world and in a race against this virus."

The city has set up a snitch line at 905-546-CITY to report non-essential businesses remaining open or gatherings larger than five people (other than in excepted cases such as bigger households, emergency daycares and grocery stores).

"Our bylaw officers are working alongside the police to enforce that," said Paul Johnson, director of the Emergency Operations Centre.

The city is also asking for donations of equipment such as gloves, masks and sanitizers for health-care workers at 905-546-2424, ext. 2257, or ppe@hamilton.ca.

Federal public health officials continued to ask the general public not to use precious masks when they go outside for essential trips.

"Putting a mask on an asymptomatic person is not beneficial," said Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada's Chief Public Health Officer. In fact, she said people can inadvertently infect themselves by using and removing masks improperly.

The federal government has the Canadian Armed Forces at the ready in case they are needed to help out communities overwhelmed with COVID-19, but so far no province has asked for assistance.

Provincewide, the number of cases is now at least 1,706, compared to 1,355 on Sunday as Ontario works its way through a backlog of tests.

But the numbers are old, as Hamilton public health says the results coming in now date back as far as March 9, making it difficult to know how many people actually have COVID-19 in the community.

Hamilton saw another surge of 21 confirmed cases Monday to bring the total to 91. Halton had 11 more cases, so it's now at 36.

There are four young people under the age of 20 with COVID-19 in Hamilton, including two babies.

Also at higher risk are the 19 people age 65 and over. More than one-third have underlying health conditions.

But these numbers don't include the rising cases at Heritage Green, as public health has stopped testing there and is just assuming all with symptoms have COVID-19. The home has 167 licensed beds, so it has now reached the point that more than 10 per cent of the residents are ill.

"You can see the impacts these outbreaks can have in long-term care homes and why it is just so important we work hard to keep the virus out of any of these places," Hamilton's chief medical officer of health, Dr. Elizabeth Richardson, said Monday. "I appreciate the numbers are large and we're very concerned."

She said the Ministry of Health has inspectors working with the home in a supportive role to make sure there is enough personal protective equipment and staff for it to continue operating.

"Over the last two days we've seen an increase in outbreaks and deaths at long-term care homes," said Ford. "We must do everything we can to prevent the further spread in these homes."

One of Ontario's 33 deaths is a resident from Heritage Green. So far, the rest of the ill residents are at the home.

There have been 12 people hospitalized so far in Hamilton for COVID-19, including a baby at McMaster Children's Hospital.

Hamilton now has 21 cases with no connection to international travel, showing the spread in the community.

The Salvation Army case is still under investigation, however, Richardson said homeless people are "definitely one of the vulnerable populations."

The man was transported from the Booth Centre in a special DARTS vehicle to Bennetto Community Centre, which has been converted into an isolation space for homeless people who test positive for the virus.

—With files from Teviah Moro

COVID-19 spreads to 27 at Hamilton nursing home; Ontario in a ‘race against the virus,’ Doug Ford says

Anyone 70 or older told to stay home as virus confirmed in Hamilton shelter, Dofasco

News Mar 31, 2020 by Joanna Frketich The Hamilton Spectator

COVID-19 has spread rapidly through Heritage Green Nursing Home with 17 residents and 10 staff currently ill on multiple floors of the Stoney Creek long-term care centre.

A second vulnerable population is also at risk after the Salvation Army confirmed Monday that a man who stayed at its men's shelter on York Boulevard has tested positive for COVID-19.

ArcelorMittal Dofasco has announced its first case in an employee who works in pickling and cold roll. The company said in a statement Monday that close contacts of the worker are self-isolating.

In addition, a Six Nations Police officer in the plainclothes unit tested positive for COVID-19. The officer has been in self-isolation since March 17.

Related Content

In preparation for an anticipated surge of COVID-19 patients, Joseph Brant Hospital is building a temporary pandemic response unit. The modular structure will have 93 beds and connect to the south tower.

Efforts to stop the spread of COVID-19 ramped up Monday with those over the age of 70 told to stay home always.

Concern over the virus potentially overwhelming the health-care system was evident in the tone of Premier Doug Ford's daily update.

"Every week, every day, every hour we can push back that surge is another week, another day, another hour that we have to prepare," he said. "The hard truth is that the more time we have, the more lives we can save."

Acknowledging for the first time that there is not enough personal protective equipment on hand for health-care workers in case of a surge, he expressed frustration with the "packed" streets over the weekend.

"Our story in Ontario can be different than Italy and Spain's but only if we take this seriously," said Ford.

Calling the next few weeks "critical," he said "everything is on the table" to get Ontarians to stay home. The state of emergency and closures is being renewed for another two weeks.

Ontario's chief medical officer of health strongly recommends people only leave their homes to access health-care services, shop for groceries, pick up medication, walk their pets and support vulnerable community members.

People with compromised immune systems and underlying health conditions were also told not to heave their homes, along with those over the age of 70. The government is investing $10 million to help community organizations deliver meals, medicines and other necessities to seniors — who are also recommended to contact friends and family for help.

"We're in a race right now," said Ford. "We're in a race on supplies that are in desperate need around the world and in a race against this virus."

The city has set up a snitch line at 905-546-CITY to report non-essential businesses remaining open or gatherings larger than five people (other than in excepted cases such as bigger households, emergency daycares and grocery stores).

"Our bylaw officers are working alongside the police to enforce that," said Paul Johnson, director of the Emergency Operations Centre.

The city is also asking for donations of equipment such as gloves, masks and sanitizers for health-care workers at 905-546-2424, ext. 2257, or ppe@hamilton.ca.

Federal public health officials continued to ask the general public not to use precious masks when they go outside for essential trips.

"Putting a mask on an asymptomatic person is not beneficial," said Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada's Chief Public Health Officer. In fact, she said people can inadvertently infect themselves by using and removing masks improperly.

The federal government has the Canadian Armed Forces at the ready in case they are needed to help out communities overwhelmed with COVID-19, but so far no province has asked for assistance.

Provincewide, the number of cases is now at least 1,706, compared to 1,355 on Sunday as Ontario works its way through a backlog of tests.

But the numbers are old, as Hamilton public health says the results coming in now date back as far as March 9, making it difficult to know how many people actually have COVID-19 in the community.

Hamilton saw another surge of 21 confirmed cases Monday to bring the total to 91. Halton had 11 more cases, so it's now at 36.

There are four young people under the age of 20 with COVID-19 in Hamilton, including two babies.

Also at higher risk are the 19 people age 65 and over. More than one-third have underlying health conditions.

But these numbers don't include the rising cases at Heritage Green, as public health has stopped testing there and is just assuming all with symptoms have COVID-19. The home has 167 licensed beds, so it has now reached the point that more than 10 per cent of the residents are ill.

"You can see the impacts these outbreaks can have in long-term care homes and why it is just so important we work hard to keep the virus out of any of these places," Hamilton's chief medical officer of health, Dr. Elizabeth Richardson, said Monday. "I appreciate the numbers are large and we're very concerned."

She said the Ministry of Health has inspectors working with the home in a supportive role to make sure there is enough personal protective equipment and staff for it to continue operating.

"Over the last two days we've seen an increase in outbreaks and deaths at long-term care homes," said Ford. "We must do everything we can to prevent the further spread in these homes."

One of Ontario's 33 deaths is a resident from Heritage Green. So far, the rest of the ill residents are at the home.

There have been 12 people hospitalized so far in Hamilton for COVID-19, including a baby at McMaster Children's Hospital.

Hamilton now has 21 cases with no connection to international travel, showing the spread in the community.

The Salvation Army case is still under investigation, however, Richardson said homeless people are "definitely one of the vulnerable populations."

The man was transported from the Booth Centre in a special DARTS vehicle to Bennetto Community Centre, which has been converted into an isolation space for homeless people who test positive for the virus.

—With files from Teviah Moro