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COVID-19: Hamilton public health says hospitalizations in current wave to peak in early May

Hamilton public health (HPHS) is predicting COVID-19 hospitalizations connected with current wave of the pandemic will likely peak in early May and remain high until the end of June.

The latest Scarsin forecasting for Hamilton, presented during the city’s Board of Health meeting on Monday, was characterized as a “good news story” with the potential for just 20 intensive care (ICU) admissions from just under 300 hospitalizations between now and the end of the August.

Overall new hospital admissions of Hamiltonians are predicted to peak at approximately six per day in early May, which is earlier than we previously forecast,” HPHS epidemiologist Ruth Sanderson told board members.

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“There is … some uncertainty of the trajectory and admissions could peak at nearly eight per day or down to where we are now … four hospitalizations per day.”

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The peak of the current wave, fueled by the Omicron subvariant BA.2, is expected to be about half of what the initial Omicron wave was in mid-January.

The new scenario is based on the continuation of the province’s mask requirements in high-risk settings and rollout of fourth COVID vaccine doses between now and the end of the year.

Sixth wave of COVID appears to be plateauing in Canada

Sixth wave of COVID appears to be plateauing in Canada

HPHS revised their April prediction on what age group will most likely be hospitalized in the next three months shifting from just those aged 60 to 79 to people aged 60-plus.

“So in total, those 60 and older will make up over 85 per cent of new hospital admissions between now and the end of August,” Sanderson said.

The Scarsin data suggests that 64 per cent of those admitted to ICUs will be aged between 60 and 79.

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Most of the estimated 42 COVID-related deaths expected between May 2 and Aug. 31 will likely be people over the age of 80.

Associate medical officer of health Dr. Bart Harvey told board members the city continues to experience about one death every 10 days in the city.

Indicators suggest Hamilton in the peak of current COVID wave

Health officials are suggesting Hamilton has made it to the peak of the current COVID wave based on cumulative data which showed the seven-day case average hit 180 on April 20.

As of Friday, the city’s average number of cases every 24 hours dropped to 157 based on the city’s PCR testing – still “underestimated” due to limitations on who can receive a test in Ontario.

“I did want to highlight that we are no longer seeing increases in our percent positivity either, which is adding to that idea that we’ve made it to the peak of transmission for this wave,” epidemiologist Erin Rodenburg told councillors.

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Week over week, the city’s percent positivity has dropped from 16.9 on April 25 to 13.6 per cent as of Monday.

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Ontario’s test positivity rate stands at 14 per cent, down from 15.3 per cent reported a week ago.

Only 11,849 PCR tests have been processed in the province over the past 24 hours, according to public health Ontario. Of those, 4,374 tests are currently under investigation.

Rodenburg said the latest wastewater numbers as of April 25 – tracking the viral load of COVID-19 entering the city’s water treatment plants – have fluctuated in recent days but overall suggest decreases from the highs seen during the current wave.

As of the end of April, the city has been seeing a seven-day average of 3.9 new hospitalizations per day with ICU admissions down to 0.4 per day.

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At the start of April, the city had a seven-day average of about two admissions per day.

The city has 25 confirmed institutional outbreaks tied to 367 total cases as of Monday, two less than the 27 surges reported a week ago.

There are 10 in the city’s long-term care homes (LTCH) accounting for 177 of the city’s total cases. There are eight outbreaks in retirement homes totalling 105 cases.

The total number of cases tied to residents in both types of facilities is just under 200.

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Rodenburg says institutional outbreaks have not really been a source for hospitalizations in the current wave with the seven-day average checking in at zero, as of Friday.

The city has seen 13 more COVID-related deaths since the last forecast was presented from public health in early April.

Over 90 per cent of eligible Hamiltonians 12-plus fully vaccinated

The city’s COVID-19 vaccination program has reached over 90 per cent of Hamiltonians aged 12 and up in first dose coverage.

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About 88 per cent have had second doses, while 54.7 per cent have had at least one booster.

The city’s average shots per day (856) through April are up about 112 per cent compared to March’s 404 every 24 hours.

The city lags behind Ontario slightly in vaccinations.

Public Health Ontario is reporting 93 per cent of those aged 12 and older have at least a single dose and 91.1 percent are fully vaccinated.

As of April 3, the city has put about 1.25 million COVID-19 vaccine doses into arms with about 470,000 second doses and 296,000 third shots.

Click to play video: 'COVID-19: Ontario data shows decline in booster vaccination'

COVID-19: Ontario data shows decline in booster vaccination

COVID-19: Ontario data shows decline in booster vaccination – Apr 9, 2022

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