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COVID-19: Cases climb in Hamilton apartment building outbreaks

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COVID-19: Cases climb in Hamilton apartment building outbreaks

Outbreaks of COVID-19 have been declared at two apartment complexes in downtown Hamilton as more cases have been confirmed at Rebecca Towers.

On Tuesday (May 11), Hamilton Public Health Services listed Wellington Place Apartments and The Village Apartments as being in outbreak since May 10.

At Wellington Place, located at 125 Wellington Street and 50 Cathcart, at least 22 cases have been confirmed. At The Village, located at 151 Queen St. N, 29 cases have been confirmed in residents and staff.

Both buildings’ cases have screened positive for the UK variant of the virus, which is known to spread more quickly.

At Rebecca Towers, where last week an outbreak was declared, case numbers have climbed to 107 and one person has died as a result of the virus.

City Hall and Hamilton’s chief medical officer of health have come under fire in recent days as the situation in city apartment buildings is increasingly under the microscope.

At Rebecca Towers, residents of the 17-storey building that is managed by Toronto-based Medallion Corporation, have reported that just one elevator has been operational for the past few months in the 164-unit complex.

The ward councillor for the neighbourhood wherein the buildings are located released a statement Monday night calling the situation at Rebecca as “our worst fears being realized.”

“Along with so many concerned residents and city staff, I take this outbreak very seriously and remain squarely focused on the health and well-being of all the residents,” Ward 2 councillor Jason Farr said in the statement.

“From the beginning of the pandemic, I have been very concerned with the potential for a high-rise outbreak.”

At a virtual media update on Monday, Dr. Elizabeth Richardson, Hamilton’s chief MOH, said that public health will be reviewing their approach to apartment complexes in the city and the role they’ve played in spreading the virus.

“Anytime we see something a little different, we go back to see how our methods are working for us,” she said. “We are going back over those.”

Residents of the buildings and the public at large have been calling for on-site vaccination clinics but there are no plans for any in the near future.

Richardson said that efforts will focus on getting residents in these buildings to nearby clinics offering the COVID-19 shots.

As of Tuesday, for the first time since March, Hamilton is reporting fewer than 100 newly confirmed cases in the community.

There are 94 new cases and no new deaths. There are currently 1048 active cases in the community and 41 active outbreaks.

Hamilton’s COVID-19 related death toll is 369.

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