COVID-19 media campaign aims to engage Hamilton's youth


The City has launched a media campaign designed to engage younger Hamiltonians who are currently the population in which cases of COVID-19 are increasing.

In the past 10 days, Hamilton's Public Health Service reports that of the latest confirmed cases of the virus in the community, 14 per cent are in the 20 to 29 age group, while 21 per cent are in the 10 to 19 age group.

Overall, those in the 20 to 29 age range account for 20 per cent of Hamilton's overall COVID-19 case count.

"The uptake of cases among people in their twenties is likely a result of not following physical distancing rules and other preventive measures such as hand hygiene and gathering limits," a City of Hamilton press release sent out Monday (June 22) says.

"There could also be other reasons, such as, lack of effectively communicating in a way that resonates with this group, the priority of other needs such as maintaining social bonds/ the perception of the virus not being a serious threat/uncertainty of how to balance physical distancing with social norms."

While the virus results in more serious medical outcomes for older age groups, young adults can catch it just as easily, though they may only experience mild symptoms and are less likely to be hospitalized, the release explains.

"Cases among this demographic have not been linked to geographical hot spots or lower-income areas," the release says.

"Hot spots have been among people living together such as families or young adults with roommates and those who work together."

So in an effort to address the information gap, PHS decided to design a campaign aimed at engaging youth and promoting behaviours that would help limit the spread of COVID-19.

The campaign is called 'Physically Distance Hamilton Style,' and features a series of infographics demonstrating the recommended two-metre separation using visuals -- like SoBi bikes and French Bulldogs -- PHS hopes will appeal to the younger demographic.

This campaign will take place in various stages and have various tactics, such as:

  • Posts on the City of Hamilton's social media sites (Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn)
  • Traditional digital advertising
  • Content spoken about at media briefings as well as through media releases
  • Leveraging existing channels to reach the youth audience (McMaster University, Mohawk College, Redeemer College, City HYP, City of Hamilton youth networks)
  • Collaboration with local workplaces to help spread the word (St. Joe's, HHS, Dofasco)
  • Collaboration with business development groups (City of Hamilton Economic Development, local BIA's, local Chamber of Commerce), again in an effort to reach local businesses who employ youth.

The campaign will also include a website with more detailed messaging on keeping oneself and others safe during the pandemic.

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