Public health says COVID-19 transmission is decreasing in Hamilton for the first time in a sixth wave.
The assessment is despite hospitalisation, increased outbreaks in high-risk settings and high COVID prevalence.
“Hamilton COVID-19 transmission remains high, but appears to be declining,” said an assessment released Wednesday.
This suggested, “Hamilton is beyond the peak” of the sixth wave, driven by Omicron’s more infectious BA.2 subtype.
The report specifically points to the average new cases falling from 163 on 24 April and 181 on 18 April on 1 May. However, this number has fluctuated – it was 133 on 30 April and 138 on 2 May. This is also a significant drawback. Because the public does not have access to PCR testing since December 31.
Test positivity has also come down from 14 per cent on April 29 to 15.4 per cent on April 22 and 17.8 per cent on April 15. However, this metric has also reduced to 13.6 on Monday and 13.9 on Wednesday.
An optimistic sign was COVID detected in wastewater, which was declining for the first time in weeks on April 27 in Hamilton. Wastewater monitoring as reported by the Ontario COVID-19 Science Advisory Table was also showing signs of reduction as of May 4 – for both the provincial and mid-west, including Hamilton, Brent, Haldimand-Norfolk, Niagara, Waterloo and Wellington-Duffrin- Guelph is included.
Michel Baird told the city’s health board on Monday: “In recent weeks we have begun to see signs that we have reached or perhaps even reached the peak of COVID-19 transmission in this current wave. have reached that peak.” Baird is director of epidemiology, welfare and communicable disease control in public health.
The only metric still rising on the city’s assessment was hospitalizations, which is a lagging indicator. The average number of Hamiltonians hospitalized for COVID was 4.4 per day on 1 May, up from 3.3 on 24 April. However, it is also bouncing up and down and was at 4.0 on April 17th.
Skarsin forecasting has estimated Hamilton’s hospitalizations will be six per day in early May, but will increase by the end of June.
“The prospect of Hamilton’s new hospital admission is just around the corner,” city epidemiologist Ruth Sanderson told Hamilton’s health board. “Certainly, there is still some uncertainty of the trajectory and admissions could peak at around eight per day or remain below where we now have four hospitalizations per day.”
Rising admissions put considerable pressure on Hamilton’s already overcrowded hospitals. Hamilton Health Sciences and St Joseph’s Healthcare were taking care of 144 COVID patients on Wednesday.
At the same time, Juravinsky Hospital had 113 percent occupancy on Wednesday and Hamilton General Hospital had 107 percent occupancy. The ideal is 85 to 90 percent.
One of the biggest pressures facing hospital networks is staffing as there are 738 job openings among them.
Apart from this, 374 employees remained in self-isolation on Wednesday. That number is increasing this week from 331 on Tuesday and 285 on Monday.
“ST. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton is facing the same pressure as other hospitals in our area in terms of critical staffing issues, increased demand for services, and limited ability to fully bring services down to pre-pandemic levels, President Melissa Farrell said in a statement on Tuesday. “The two-year pandemic has put us in a position where the demand for care is increasing at a time when our staffing conditions are beyond stressful.”
Hospitals in Hamilton are also responsible for eight of the city’s 32 ongoing outbreaks. Five of them are at Hamilton General Hospital and one at St Joseph’s Charlton site. Two are in facilities that care for vulnerable senior citizens – St. Peter’s Hospital and the Satellite Health Facility, located at 150 King St. E.
The largest ongoing outbreak is at West Mountain long-term care home Idlewild Manor, where 44 have tested positive since April 18. There are 19 of the ongoing outbreaks in seniors’ homes, while two are in shelters, and three are in group homes and other types. Auxiliary living.
The city on Wednesday reported the death of a senior man aged 80 years or older, taking the toll from the pandemic to 546. About 62 percent of Hamilton’s COVID deaths occurred in this age group.
To protect against serious consequences from COVID, public health continues to recommend limiting social contacts indoors, especially in crowded places, and despite the reduction in transmission. Infected people should be screened to see if they are eligible for viral treatment.