Summary of City of Hamilton COVID-19 Media Conference for May 15, 2020

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Image of the City of Hamilton Zoom Media Conference

Mayor Eisenberger speaking during a public media conference held via the Zoom platform on May 1, 2020

The City of Hamilton held its media call today. This call is run by the City Manager’s Office, and broadcast live to the public.

The following is the summary of the press conference. Full video, as live-streamed by the City of Hamilton, is available on YouTube.


Key New Information:

  • Dog Parks reopen Tuesday, May 19
  • Bayfront Park boat launch reopens tomorrow, Saturday, May 16
  • Kings’ Forest Golf Course is “aiming” to reopen on Wednesday, May 20
  • Chedoke Golf Course is “aiming” to be open by Tuesday, May 26
  • Some City tennis courts, pickleball courts, and figure skating facilities will reopen by the end of May.
  • City is expecting a decision on summer programming, including children’s camps, around May 27

Fred Eisenberger, Mayor, Opening Remarks

  • Summarizes provincial and federal announcements.
  • Says it is “imperative” that all businesses which reopen meet physical distancing guidelines and requirements.
  • Says more aggressive testing for COVID is about to begin provincially and in Hamilton. If you have symptoms, you will be able to get a test.
  • Mayor repeats his call for the province and federal government to immediately provide emergency funds to municipalities.

Paul Johnson, Director of Emergency Operations

  • Makes reopening announcements
  • Dog Parks reopen Tuesday, May 19
  • Bayfront Park boat launch reopens tomorrow, Saturday, May 16
  • Kings’ Forest Golf Course is “aiming” to reopen on Wednesday, May 20
  • Chedoke Golf Course is “aiming” to be open by Tuesday, May 26
  • Some City tennis courts, pickleball courts, and figure skating facilities will reopen by the end of May.
  • City website will be updated over the weekend
  • City does not get much heads up of Provincial announcements, hence it takes time to implement provincial changes
  • City will again charge for parking starting Saturday, with first 30 minutes free.
  • Monthly parking permit fees resume on June 1.
  • Parking regulations in residential areas remain suspended
  • City burning complaints are increasing, reminder that residents living in urban areas are not permitted to have open outdoor fires. Rural residents need to apply a permit.
  • Transit riders are requested to wear a face covering, not required to ride.
  • City responding to outbreaks at long term care homes, The Rosslyn home has an outbreak the City is responding to.

Dr. Elizabeth Richardson, Hamilton’s Medical Officer of Health

  • The reopening is not business as usual, we are living in a world with COVID, in a pandemic. We must maintain physical distancing, and be purposeful whenever we are in public.
  • Update on numbers, which are listed on the City website: https://www.hamilton.ca/coronavirus
  • There are now 26 deaths, one new today.
  • Now 23 cases at The Rosslyn, 18 residents, 5 staff, this is the major outbreak presently being responded to.

Media Questions

Samantha Craggs, CBC

What can you tell us of the staffing situation at The Rosslyn?

Paul Johnson:

City gets involved when staff shortage becomes critical, and the City is involved because it became worse in the past days.

Says the City can’t give exact details about the facility, but “You can assume from that staffing levels are low and challenging, particularly in this coming weekend”

Follow-up Question: What is the situation like there right now?

Paul Johnson:

We have a lot of people there ensuring care in there. It’s a 24/7 operation, the home is very receptive, and we are working as a team.

Dale Manucdoc, CHCH

For Dr. Richardson, what is the new criteria to get a COVID test?

Dr. Richardson:

Beyond the key symptoms, the list of symptoms which now will result in a COVID test is expanding as more has been learned about the virus. Testing capacity has increased, and the number of tests available has increased.

The list of symptoms and testing guidance from the Province has increased, more information will be posted next week on the City website.

Follow-up Question: Can you share any details on the death today?

Dr. Richardson:

I was just informed of the death I have no further details.

[An email was sent to accredited email following this, and Manucdoc tweeted Hamilton Public Health has confirmed the city’s 26th covid-19 death. A 70-year old male from the Rosslyn died in hospital. The retirement home declared an outbreak on May 10th and has 23 confirmed cases. This is the first death“]

Katrina Clarke, Hamilton Spectator

Who is it that have been sent in [to The Rosslyn], what are they doing, how many are there?

Paul Johnson:

I don’t have the listing, I don’t know where they are all from, and what role they are playing. They are many people helping there on the ground.

Follow-up Question: How many [residents/patients] from The Rosslyn are at Hospital? Is there a Code Orange at any hospital?

Dr. Richardson:

Seven are in hospital as of this morning

Not sure if they’ve declared a Code Orange, Dr. Richardson says she has not heard of one.

Joanna Frketich, Hamilton Spectator

What is the status of mass testing at The Rosslyn?

Dr. Richardson:

They began mass testing on May 12th, outbreak declared May 10th

Follow-up Question: The Rosslyn was one of the homes issued a [public health] order last month, did they meet the order requirements?

Dr. Richardson:

All the requirements of the order were met. Yesterday, a new Order was issued to this home to ensure they continue to meet the conditions of the first order and standards required of homes.

Steve Buist, Hamilton Spectator

All private courses will be open tomorrow, all of them were pretty much booked up yesterday. Why is it taking longer for the City to open its golf courses?

Paul Johnson:

Part of it is bringing back seasonal staff. The City had not scheduled their hours, and they need to undergo training before the City can reopen the courses.

It will be by next weekend that we hope to reopen Chedoke.

City needs time to get the courses ready with signage and changes for physical distancing.

Follow-up Question: Do you know when the 2020 rates for membership and tee off fees will be posted?

Paul Johnson:

We hope to have online booking for tee times in the coming days, the rates were already set in the 2020 munciipal budget.

Dale Manucdoc, CHCH

Dale: Why can’t public washrooms be reopen in [public parks, conservation areas, and facilities]?

Dr. Richardson:

They are high contact areas, many things people touch in them. They are hard to keep sanitary and clean, and at this time the City isn’t able to keep them clean. The City recognize their importance, and is working on this.

Katrina Clarke, Hamilton Spectator

Staffing challenges at The Rosslyn, why is that?

Paul Johnson:

Some of the staff have tested positive, this is a smaller facility that doesn’t have much staff to begin with compared to larger facilities. There is a province wide shortage of long-term care staff, and this is why the City and hospitals need to step in to assist with staffing.

Mayor Eisenberger:

Province has put out all call for experienced LTC staff to help iwth the Provincal response to add workers at LTCs.

Joanna Frketich, Hamilton Spectator

What is the process, does the Home ask for help or does the City determine it must step in? What are the supports?

Paul Johnson:

It is all kinds of staff, nurses, support staff, and more. Various ways the response can be triggered.

City provides logistics supports, PPE, and connecting to Provincial supports.

Samantha Craggs, CBC

How many deaths have their been at The Rosslyn

Dr. Richardson:

The new death today was a Rosslyn resident, a 70-year-old male.

Joey Coleman. The Public Record

Today, Toronto announced cancellation of kids summer camps, what is the timeline for Hamilton’s decision?

Paul Johnson:

It will be in the coming weeks, likely around the May 27 report to Council on staged reopening. Hamilton has not made its final call.

Mayor Eisenberger closing remarks

Reminder that health care system is safe, that if people need to call paramedics, seek emergency care, or seek urgent care, it is safe to do so, and they should do so.

Wishes everyone a good weekend.

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First published: May 15, 2020
Last edited: May 15, 2020
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