Despite the Ontario Government lifting of COVID masking and capacity mandates on March 21, COVID has a mind of its own. Ontario infection disease experts are confirming that the province in is a 6th wave of COVID characterized by the new BA.2 subvariant of Omicron. Hospital admissions are on the rise across Ontario, and Hamilton Public Health says most COVID indicators are on the rise here.
Status COVID-19 Monitoring Indicators Data Interpretation Increase New Cases: 7 Day Average Over the past 2 weeks, the 7 day average of new cases has been increasing (74 on March 13, 79 on March 20, and 116 on March 27). Increase Hospital Admissions: 7 Day Average Over the past 2 weeks, the 7 day average of hospitalization has been increasing (1.6 on March 13, 2.4 on March 20, and 2.7 on March 27). Increase Wastewater samples with COVID-19 deteced The 3-point average of viral signal for detecting COVID-19 in wastewater samples is increasing in samples taken between March 18 to 22. Increase Percentage of sub-variant BA.2 cases identified (number identified/total sequenced) From the week of February 20 to 26 (15.4%) to the week of February 27 to March 5 (37.5%), the proportion of sub-variant BA.2 cases identified has increased. Increase Number of Tests Completed: 7 Day Average Over the past 2 weeks, the 7 day average of number of tests completed at Hamilton assessment centres has increased (190 on March 13, 170 on March 20, and 237 on March 27). Increase Percent Test (PCR) Positivity From the week of March 6 to 12 (14.1%) to the week of March 13 to 19 (16.5%), percent positivity has increased.
In a statement, Hamilton Public Health says, “the trend in the indicators (above) are consistent with the resurgence in COVID-19 transmission that was predicted to follow the recent changes in COVID-19 measures such as increased indoor capacities and the removal of vaccine passports. Despite changes in testing eligibility, the trend in lab-confirmed cases provides a useful indicator of transmission. The number of cases, hospital admissions, and wastewater sample detection have all been consistently increasing in the past two weeks. In addition, percent positivity is increasing, as is the total number of tests completed.
In light of the recent apparent increase in COVID-19 transmissions, Hamiltonians are encouraged to use public health measures including getting fully vaccinated, wearing a well-fitting medical mask, and maintaining 2 metres of physical distance as warranted by the situation to reduce serious health consequences from COVID-19 infection, both for yourself and especially for those who are vulnerable.
Local daily case reporting
In Wednesday’s reporting from local health units, Hamilton COVID hospitalizations had dropped by eight to 67, while ICU cases remained stable at less than seven. There were no deaths. Halton hospitalizations were also unchanged at 12 with no new deaths. In terms of new COVID cases both Hamilton and Halton showed spikes, with Hamilton adding 55 cases to 141 and Halton adding 23 to 112. Both cases counts are understated due to COVID testing limitations.