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Hamilton reports 79 new COVID-19 cases, 15 locations across the city have outbreaks

The number of reported COVID-19 outbreaks being monitored by public health in Hamilton grew to 15 on Friday with four new surges at a pair of summer camps, a workplace and a downtown shelter.

There are now three outbreaks tied to 16 cases at summer camps after two more on the Mountain – MJM Equestrian Centre and Today’s Family Summer Camp – reported a combined six cases on Thursday.

Three city shelters now account for 16 of the city’s total 110 outbreak cases with another investigation ongoing at the YMCA Men’s Residence downtown.

Mountain Hyundai added two more cases to the 24 at six workplaces across the city.

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Health officials say an investigation into the city’s largest current outbreak – 50 cases at Sizzle night club – suggests not all in attendance during three exposure periods on Aug. 7, 13 and 14 were following public health guidelines.

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“Through case interviews, it appears a number of patrons were not masking, even when not eating/drinking, nor maintaining physical distancing, which likely contributed to transmission,” the city told Global News in a release.

Last Friday, Sizzle co-owner Ken Collet told Global News the club had been meeting public health guidelines including capping its estimated capacity of 1,200 to a maximum of 250 people with masks, distancing and screening policies in place for all customers and staff.

Hamilton reported a seven-day high in daily case numbers with 79 revealed on Friday. The city’s active cases are up for the third straight day to 495 with more than 50 per cent tied to people under the age of 30.

Of the 781 new cases recorded in Ontario, data showed 485 were unvaccinated people, 83 were partially vaccinated people, 147 were fully vaccinated people and for 66 people the vaccination status was unknown.

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Combined Hamilton Health Sciences and St. Joseph’s are reporting 56 COVID patients in city hospitals with 15 in intensive care.

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The city is still second among the 34 public health units with cases returning positive from provincial labs. Hamilton’s weekly per cent positivity rate is at 6.5, more than double the provincial average which was at just under 3.0 per cent as of Aug. 27.


Mobile vaccine clinics set to hit city parks starting Saturday

With Hamilton’s COVID-19 vaccination rates below provincial averages regionally, a number of the city’s high-profile outlets offered up incentives at several events over the past seven days in an effort to boost the number of shots in arms.

Just under 800 vaccine doses were administered through pop-up clinics at Tim Horton’s Field and FirstOntario Centre.

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The FirstOntario clinic, which offered a Saturday free skate, music and prize draws, pulled in 199 people for vaccination during its Friday event and 169 the following night.

Tiger-Cats practices on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday administered 115, 174 and 141 shots respectively.

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A Hamilton physician who’s behind Canada’s ‘This Is Our Shot’ campaign believes the incentivized COVID-19 vaccine clinics are an extremely effective way of boosting vaccination rates.

Dr. Dashminder Singh Sehdev, a trauma physician at Hamilton Health Sciences, says the latest estimates from Public Health Canada suggest about eight per cent of residents who won’t make time for a shot through words alone need something “material” to draw them out.


Click to play video: 'New COVID-19 vaccination incentives from Rewards for Change'







New COVID-19 vaccination incentives from Rewards for Change


New COVID-19 vaccination incentives from Rewards for Change – Aug 17, 2021

Sehdev suggests incentives like prizes or free gift cards have seen success in other regions across the country and potentially are the only course of action to reach a countrywide target of 90 per cent fully vaccinated.

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“These are people who are kind of in the ‘no way José’ category where no matter what you do, you’re not going to be able to get them to actually vaccinate,” said Sehdev.

“They are beyond speaking, beyond convincing, and these are one of the groups of people for whom incentivization might work.”

Over the next five days, public health will use a number of mobile clinic to tackle five Hamilton areas – L8M, L8K, L8L, L8R, and L8J – that continue to not only have high COVID infection positivity rates, but low vaccination uptake.

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Pier 8 near the Williams Café and the Stoney Creek Optimist Little League will see outdoor mobile clinics on Saturday while the Ottawa Street Parkette and Rosedale Park will get the same on Sunday. All will run between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.

The GO-VAXX bus will make a stop at Gore Park on Tuesday between 9 a.m. and 7 p.m.

Just over 776,000 COVID-19 vaccine doses have been administered in Hamilton as of Thursday with 71.7 per cent of the eligible population aged 12-plus fully vaccinated.

The number is behind Ontario’s average which checked in at 75.7 per cent fully vaccinated on Friday.

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