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Hamilton reports 154 new COVID-19 cases; vaccinations open to child-care workers amid 6 outbreaks

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Licensed child-care workers in Hamilton are now eligible to book appointments to receive a COVID-19 vaccine, as per direction from the province.

The move comes just weeks after a number of early childhood educators made pushes to move to the front of the line for shots since they are in close contact with young children who don’t typically wear masks.

Infectious diseases physician Dr. Sumon Chakrabarti told Global News last week that child-care workers should move up on the vaccination priority list due to the heightened risk of catching the coronavirus within their work structure.

Read more: Calls grow for Ontario daycare workers to receive COVID-19 vaccine to prevent closures

“Not only have they been looking after kids out of lockdown, but they have looking after essential workers’ kids in lockdown. That includes people who work in high-risk settings, as well as health-care workers,” said Chakrabarti.

Eligible workers in licensed child care settings can expect a letter from their employer, if they have not already received one. The letter will need to be presented at the point of booking and taken to the vaccination appointment.

In the coming weeks, eligibility is expected to be expanded to child-care workers in unlicensed child care settings across the province.

Halton and Niagara have also opened up their programs to child-care workers.

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The move comes amid heightened concern over children contracting COVID-19 following the death of a 13-year-old in Brampton girl last week.

A pediatric physician in eastern Ontario who’s treated children with COVID-19 is suggesting that parents keep an eye out for three signs to make sure their young one has not come down with the affliction.

Dr. Sarah Reed, from the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario in Ottawa, says difficulty breathing, hydration and abnormal behavior are some of the key markers that could determine whether or not a child has contracted COVID-19.

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Reed also suggests keeping an eye out for fever and advises guardians to reach out to a primary care physician should a child have more than one of the signs.

“Many family doctors and pediatricians in the community are offering lots of innovative ways of seeing their patients,” said Reed.

“If they think your child probably is a little bit sicker and probably needs to go into emergency, they’ll counsel you in that direction.”

Read more: Ontario reports 3,871 new COVID-19 cases, 41 deaths

Hamilton has seen its active coronavirus cases shift to younger demographics in recent months with about 70 per cent of all new cases coming from people under the age of 50.

On Thursday the city revealed that about 21 per cent of its active cases are from those under 19, and that six child-care settings have outbreaks involving a combined 34 cases among 22 patrons and 12 staff.

Dr. Jeremy Friedman, associate pediatrician-in-chief at Sick Kids Hospital in Toronto concurs with Reed on the three key symptoms parents should watch out for and says parents should also feel “100 per cent confident” that a visit to a hospital emergency unit in Ontario is safe.

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“We’ve been at this for a year, quite honestly. So a lot of the practices have been refined over time,” said Friedman

“We are honestly absolutely confident that the children and families are safe to visit the hospitals, and that should not be a concern.”

 

Hamilton reports 154 new COVID-19 cases, 4 new outbreaks

Hamilton reported 154 new COVID-19 infections on Thursday and four more virus-related outbreaks at two workplaces — a child care centre and supportive housing facility.

Public health says the outbreaks at Goulet Cleaning in Waterdown and SM Cladding Solutions in Stoney Creek involve five cases each among staff members.

The outbreak at the Graystone Children’s Early Learning Academy involves two patrons and the surge at the Hatt’s Off location at Ninth Avenue on the Mountain is just a single case with a resident.

Two workplace outbreaks were declared over on Wednesday: at ArcelorMittal Dofasco and the City of Hamilton roads department on Wentworth Street North. Combined, the two had 17 cases among workers.

Read more: Hamilton tattoo shop still operating despite multiple charges under COVID-19 emergency orders

There are now 16 workplace outbreaks across the city involving 129 total cases.

The largest two involve Aryzta/Oakrun Farm Bakery on Fiddlers Green Road reporting 37 cases, while National Steel Car involves 28 employees.

As of Wednesday, Hamilton has 40 outbreaks involving more than 250 total cases. Thirty-six now involve a variant of concern.

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The city says there are 1,576 active cases as of April 29, down 63 from Tuesday.

Around 10.3 per cent of all COVID-19 tests in the city are returning with positive results, down from 11.3 on Wednesday.

The city’s COVID-19 case rate per 100,000 population over seven days continued to drop from 182 as of Wednesday to 166 as of April 29.

Read more: Canada to get 1.9M COVID-19 vaccines this week, including 1st Johnson & Johnson shots 

The reproductive rate in Hamilton is at 1.09, suggesting the virus is still spreading in the community.

As of Tuesday, Hamilton hospitals are treating 165 COVID-19 patients. There are 119 COVID-19 patients at HHS with 54 in intensive care. St. Joe’s says it has 46 total patients.

Ontario’s new COVID-19 cases were up again day-over-day from 3,480 reported on Wednesday to 3,265 on Thursday.

Most public health units reported fewer than 200 new cases in the provincial report, except for Toronto (1,172), Peel (901), York (392), and Durham (292).