Hamilton public health is projecting daily COVID-19 case rates will get a bump in the next few months, but expects few severe outcomes among those hospitalized by an infection.
During a public health board meeting on Monday, experts laid out the latest Scarsin forecasting which suggests a possible 200 hospitalizations in a worst case scenario assuming public health measures are phased out in January and that youth remain not vaccinated.
A more likely scenario, however, sees some 130 admissions to health-care facilities over the next two and half months in line with the province’s “pausing” of capacity limits across Ontario last week and the likelihood vaccinations with ages 5 to 11 will hit 40 per cent by the end of December.
The new data also suggests another 2,600 COVID cases on the high end with 13 deaths, while the best case scenario presented to the board had just under 1,700 new infections over the same period.
“It shows that Hamilton can anticipate an increase in cases with increased transmission risk due to an increase in indoor activities and reopening,” medical officer of health Dr. Elizabeth Richardson told councillors on Monday.
“However, severe outcomes such as hospitalization and deaths should be modest. They should not increase at the same rate as we’ve seen before.”
Those under 60 are most likely to be impacted by COVID, according to the forecast, which suggests ages 20 to 59 could account for 57 per cent of new cases while under 19 might reach 32 per cent.
Case counts in Hamilton have recently fared better than a number of public health units in Ontario reporting increases in recent weeks.
Sudbury was one community that reintroduced capacity limits and other public health measures on Monday amid a recent “record number” of virus outbreaks.
The municipality’s per cent positivity number — representing the average number of tests coming back with COVID from labs — was at 4.2 per cent over the last seven days compared to Hamilton’s 1.7 per cent recorded in the past week.
Ontario’s positivity rate was 2.2 per cent as of Sunday.
The Scarsin data predicts the daily case count could reach around 40 new infections daily in the worst case scenario and between the current 15 and 20 cases being recorded in a more likely projection.
It’s estimated that 113 new cases could be avoided in the new year with vaccinations administered for close to half of those aged 5 to 11 in the city.
A third scenario — which assumes loosened public measures and vaccinations among 40 per cent of children — suggested another 2,500 new COVID cases between mid-November and the end of January.
Over 82% of eligible 12-plus fully vaccinated in Hamilton
Hamilton’s health partners put just over 3,400 vaccine doses into arms on the weekend, with Friday recording the largest intake since Oct. 8 — 1,768 doses.
That number is well above the monthly average of daily doses administered so far for November, which is 1,014 per day.
Vaccination sites saw about a 69-per cent increase in visitors week over week, recording the distribution of 8,914 doses between Nov. 8 and Nov. 14.
November’s average so far is slightly less than what was recorded for all of October, 1,068 shots per day, and farther behind September’s average of 1,488 per day.
As of Monday, 82.4 per cent of eligible Hamiltonians over 12 have been fully vaccinated while 85.7 per cent have had at least a single jab. The city is still behind the provincial average which sees 85.8 per cent fully vaccinated and 89.02 with at least one vaccine dose.
Hamilton is behind 31 other public health units in percentage of two dose vaccinations in Ontario.
Hamilton’s weekly COVID-19 case rates remains steady
Hamilton’s daily COVID-19 case rate remained flat week over week, with public health reporting a seven-day average of 13 as of Monday, three less than the seven-day average so far for all of November.
The rate is much less than the seven-day average recorded for October, which was 24 cases per day.
Active cases dropped over the weekend from the 121 reported on Friday to 110 as of Nov. 15.
Over 67 per cent of all active cases are in people under 50, while 38 per cent represents how many under 30 have the affliction.
Since the pandemic started in March of 2020, Hamilton has endured a reported 25,462 COVID cases.
There are nine reported outbreaks tied to 42 total cases across the city as of Nov. 9. The largest is at St. Peter’s Hospital which now has 18 total cases — four among staff and 14 among patients.
Four new outbreaks were recorded by public health on the weekend — including eight cases at the Highland Packers manufacturing site, four at the Rehoboth Christian School in Copetown, three at Sts. Peter and Paul Catholic Elementary and a single new case at the Amica Dundas retirement home.
Hospitals in Hamilton are reporting a combined 24 COVID patients as of Monday. There are eight people in intensive care units (ICU).
Both public school boards have a combined 31 cases in the last 14 days, 27 with students.
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