The City of Hamilton held their once-a-week COVID press conference this afternoon. The following is a summary of my Twitter thread which can be read in its entirety here.
Work from home, please work from home, seriously work from home! This is the key takeaway message from today’s press conference.
Hamilton’s Medical Officer of Health Dr. Elizabeth Richardson emphasized this message as the main thrust of her remarks today, saying it is very important for people to stay home as much as possible to prevent the spread of COVID in the community. When she completed this segment, Dr. Richardson took a pause, and then quickly noted that the City of Hamilton has extra precautions in place for its workplaces as Mayor Fred Eisenberger sat in his City Hall office today during the press conference. Mayor Eisenberger made repeated statements regarding the importance of working from home.
Working from home is possible for Mayor Eisenberger, he has a house with separate home office. For others, their apartment is crappy with their partner also working from home. Many of us are dealing with terrible internet. Heck, being stuck at homes is tough. It is nice to go to the office.
Mayor Eisenberger working from his office encapsulates the dilemma of work-from-home. It is easier to work in the office.
Homeless Shelter Outbreaks
There is growing concern regarding two COVID outbreaks in homeless shelters. The City is preparing Bennetto Recreation Centre as a homeless isolation shelter if cases continue to increase. At present, people are being provided accommodation in an isolation shelter operated by Wesley.
Johnson states the City has capacity in shelters despite the two with outbreaks not taking in new clients. He stated the City has available hotel rooms.
City Thanks People for Wearing Masks on Outdoor Rinks and During Outdoor Activities
Hamilton Director of Emergency Operations Paul Johnson thanked people for complying with outdoor skating hours and for wearing masks while skating. Johnson noted many people have thanked the staff operating the rinks, and this is much appreciated.
There is no winter golf as per provincial orders. Winterfest will be online only.
Destiny’s Hair Salon Operating Illegally
A East Hamilton hair salon on Galmont Drive was open over the weekend, contrary to COVID regulations. The operator is facing numerous charges under the Reopening Ontario Act. Media asked questions, no specifics were provided.
Johnson stated the City understands being closed is very difficult for these types of businesses, but it is necessary and there are no excuses for being open.
Call the City not Police to Report COVID violations
Johnson emphasized that people are to call the City of Hamilton for COVID enforcement and not police or 9-1-1. The City number is 905 546 2489.
Vaccine Supply Delays
Dr. Richardson spoke to the pause regarding vaccinations behind Long Term Care homes and high-risk retirement homes. With Pfizer retooling their production line in Europe, the province is preserving supply to ensure all people already given a first dose will have a second dose available.
Dr. Richardson stated it is good in the medium to long term that Pfizer will be able to produce more vaccine and Hamilton is working to prepare for the arrive of a steady supply of vaccines. “It is disappointing news in the short term”, said Dr. Richardson. “we are going to continue with the planning” for larger vaccination clinics.
Hospital Surge Beds
In response to a question claiming “Hamilton has been left out again” regarding the province adding 500 “surge beds” in Ontario’s regions worst hit by COVID, Dr. Richardson stated that she supports the decision of Ontario Health as it will keep patients closer to home. Dr. Richardson says many patients from outside of Hamilton are admitted to Hamilton’s ICUs due to the strained capacity in the Greater Toronto Area.
Curious who we call after 4:30pm weekdays, or on weekends? The city number announces that they are closed. SUPER helpful!