Following a directive from the province, Mayor Fred Eisenberger has declared a state of emergency in Hamilton in response to COVID-19.
The declaration, confirmed on Friday (April 17), enables the city to redeploy staff where they’re needed most and to use volunteers if needed.
Eisenberger explained that earlier this month, the province issued an emergency order under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act (EMCPA) to provide municipalities with the flexibility to deploy certain staff to where they are needed most.
As a result, Provincial Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, Steve Clark, requested all municipalities to sign a Declaration of Emergency.
“To exercise this authority as requested by the province, I am declaring an emergency in the City of Hamilton under section 4 of the EMCPA concurrent with this order,” Eisenberger said in a press release.
“The declaration of an emergency by the City is a technical matter…there is no additional cause for concern by the people of Hamilton.”
As of Friday, Hamilton is reporting 319 cases of COVID-19 in the city, five of which are considered probable. That’s up 13 cases since Thursday. Of those, 134 cases have so far been resolved (41 per cent).
Ninety-one of the city’s cases are outbreak-related, City data shows. Sixty are patients or residents of the affected facilities, 30 are staff.
The City has seen an uptick in the number of cases in the last few days and Dr. Elizabeth Richardson, Hamilton’s Medical Officer of Health, explained that they’ve ramped up testing, particularly at sites where outbreaks have been declared.
She said that Heritage Green, the first institutional outbreak in Hamilton, has one new confirmed case. At Cardinal retirement residences, expanded testing has found 45 COVID-19 positive residents. Of those, 26 are symptomatic and 19 are asymptomatic.
At Emmanuel House Hospice in downtown Hamilton, there are five cases (two new cases since Thursday) among the staff and two residents are confirmed to have the virus.
And in the latest outbreak in Hamilton, one resident of a Wesley Supportive Housing building has tested positive for COVID-19, Richardson said.
In total, there are six institutional outbreaks in the community and two community outbreaks. Richardson did say, however, that the outbreak at St. Joe’s Special Care nursery is on track to be declared over by Saturday.
Eleven people in Hamilton have died as a result of the virus, most of which have been associated with outbreaks at a number of the city’s long-term care facilities.
So far, the City says on their website, there have been 77 cases of COVID-19 in Hamilton that indicate that there is spread in the community, in addition to other travel and contact related cases.
Since the first case in Hamilton was diagnosed, 24 per cent of confirmed COVID-19 cases were identified as community-acquired.
In the last 10 days, 17 per cent of confirmed local COVID-19 cases were community-acquired, 60 per cent are close or casual contact with a case and no travel history, none have direct travel history and 23 per cent are pending investigation.