Public Health investigates possible new cases of Omicron COVID-19 variant in Hamilton

Two suspected cases in the Hamilton area of ​​the new Omicron COVID-19 variant are being investigated by local and provincial public health authorities, according to Ontario’s top document.

During an early Monday morning press conference, chief medical officer Dr Kieran Moore revealed an investigation into four possible cases, including two in Ottawa.

Two Hamilton residents in the recent poll returned from South Africa, tested positive for COVID-19 and are awaiting the results of genome sequencing related to the Omicron variant.

“Hamilton Public Health Service is conducting case and contact management and two individuals and their case contacts are self-isolating,” the city said in a statement Monday afternoon.

City health officials are advising anyone who has been to Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia Nigeria, South Africa and Zimbabwe within 14 days before arriving in Hamilton to self-isolate, even if vaccinated.

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It also recommends that travelers get tested for COVID-19 at a local assessment center, regardless of whether they have symptoms or not.

The two cases in Ottawa involve people who had recently been in Nigeria and were first tested for the virus in Montreal when they arrived in Canada.

“Their local public health authorities have been…notified by Public Health Canada… and are actively managing the case and contact,” Moore said.

He went on to say regional public health units are reaching out to 375 returnees from countries the federal government considers high risk for the new variant and are offering testing.

With international flights returning to Hamilton this week, after Transport Canada lifted its ban on transporting passengers from John C. Munro Airport, Moore acknowledged the situation was now “loose” and said public health will contact the federal government for a testing strategy. .

“We definitely got in touch with them over the weekend to talk about a testing strategy for all travelers returning to Canada,” said Moore.

“We’ll be looking at further testing strategies in the short term, traveling in 72 hours or less.”

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It is expected that the province will offer the test to all returning travelers, not just those from seven designated countries in southern Africa.

Moore told Ontario residents to “calm down,” saying he doesn’t see a change in any restrictions at the moment.

He said if Omicron was “less lethal”, it would have less impact on the province’s health system.

“I don’t have a complete crystal ball, but we’ll be clarifying more in the coming weeks on how we must respond to this new threat,” Moore said.

The province is likely to have an announcement later this week regarding vaccinations and expanding its capacity to deliver a third dose.

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He said the “accelerated third dose strategy” would be part of new measures the province could introduce as a way to combat the new variant.

Dr. Colin Furness, an epidemiologist and assistant professor at the University of Toronto, said the concern with the new version of the COVID-19 virus is that it is “successfully competing” with variants expressed present through a mutation to the mutant protein.

“The problem with mutations on spikes is that vaccines teach our immune systems to recognize that spikes and too many mutations make it harder to do so,” Furness told 900 CHML’s Good morning Hamilton.

“You may remember the original Pfizer vaccine was 95 percent effective against COVID, and by the time we got to Delta it was down to 88 percent. So it might be a little bit more down.”

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The next steps for medical communities worldwide will be to complete laboratory studies to test the effectiveness of current vaccines against Omicron, the researcher says. measure its spread in the community.

“With the variations we’ve seen so far, we already know what the model looks like. They start small, then suddenly they’re dominant,” says Furness.

“So we’ll have to wait and see if this is this, and then monitor the symptoms.”

Hamilton reports 57 new COVID-19 cases over the weekend

Public Health Hamilton reported 57 new COVID-19 cases over the weekend and a drop in active cases from Friday.

The city’s seven-day average case rate has dropped slightly over the past few days, checking in at 9 p.m. on Monday versus Friday’s average of 22 cases per day.

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So far, for the whole of November, the city has had an average case rate of 20 cases per day, slightly below the 22 cases per day reported in October.

Active cases dropped to 158 cases as of November 29, down 11 from the 169 reported on Friday.

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More than 72% of all active cases are in people under the age of 50, while 39% are under the age of 30.

The city’s positivity percentage – which represents the number of positive tests from laboratories – remained at 2.4 percent, well below the provincial average of 3.5 percent. hundred reported on Monday.

Since the pandemic began in March 2020, Hamilton has reported 25,766 COVID cases.

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There are eight ongoing outbreaks reported involving a total of 39 cases citywide as of Nov. 29. The largest is at St. Gabriel, there are a total of 14 cases – one among teachers and 13 among students.

In total, there are six ongoing school outbreaks involving a total of 25 cases.

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In the past 14 days, both public boards have reported 66 cases, of which 50 are schoolchildren.

Hamilton hospitals are reporting a total of 14 COVID-19 patients as of Thursday, nine at Hamilton Health Sciences and five at St. Joe’s.

Over 83% of 12-year-old Hamiltonians are eligible to be fully immunized

Over the weekend, Hamilton’s medical partners administered more than 6,130 doses of the vaccine, with Friday recording the largest injection of the week – 2,813.

With the COVID-19 vaccine being made available to children aged 5 to 11, the city has seen a 56.7% increase in injection doses over the past week.

Over the past seven days, the city has put on weapons 12,500 shots, 4,500 closer to firing than between November 15 and November 21.

November’s average daily photo also increased, from 1,057 photos on Friday to 1,239 photos on Sunday.

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This is more than the daily average recorded in October – 1,068 per day.

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As of Sunday, 83.3% of eligible Hamiltonians over the age of 12 were fully immunized while 86.7% had received at least a single dose. The city still lags behind the provincial average, with 86.3% of children fully vaccinated and 89.7 children receiving at least one dose of vaccine.

People aged 70 to 84 years have met the Ministry of Health’s target of 90% coverage of the first and second doses. Meanwhile, Hamiltonians ages 25 to 29 represent the lowest immunization rates among eligible people in the community, just over 73% fully immunized.

Hamilton is behind 31 other public health units in two-dose vaccination rates in Ontario.

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