COVID-19 numbers “stable” but still high in Hamilton as hospitals face near capacity levels


Published November 29, 2023 at 2:48 pm

McMaster Children's Hospital

A spike in COVID-19 cases in Hamilton last week has stabilized, with the number of new cases, weekly incidence rate and per cent positivity all down slightly but still significantly higher than two weeks ago.

The data, provided by Hamilton Public Health every Wednesday, show a seven-day average of 25 new cases this past week, down two from last week. An average of just 15 per day was reported November 15. The weekly incidence rate is 29 (per 100,000 residents), versus 31 last week and 17 reported November 15; and the per cent positivity dropped to 20.4 per cent from 22.7 per cent. It was 13.4 per cent two weeks ago.

Most of the underlying numbers for COVID are stable or decreasing. Hospital admissions is down to 0.3 per day (vs 0.4); ICU patients in hospital has dropped from 0.1 to zero; outbreaks at long term care homes, hospitals and retirement centres are down a touch to 13 from 15; and wastewater signals are up slightly but still stable.

It’s flu season and the numbers in Hamilton are considered very low and stable, with new cases (on a seven-day moving average down to 0.1 from 1.0; the per cent positivity up to 1.7 per cent from 1.2 per cent; and the wastewater signals for the virus is considered stable, with the last Influenza-A signal detected November 21 and Influenza-B last found back on June 20.

Hamilton Public Health also monitors cases of the Respiratory Syncytial virus, with the per cent positivity for new cases up from 9.1 per cent to 10.4 per cent. Wastewater signals and the number of outbreaks are both classed as stable, with two outbreaks of the virus recorded last week.

The test results come as Hamilton Health Services’ hospitals are coming under “significant pressure” amid the rise in respiratory viruses over the past couple of weeks and a swelling surgical backlog, with Juravinski Hospital and Cancer Centre sitting at 110 per cent capacity and Hamilton General Hospital and McMaster Children’s Hospital filling up.

According to a November 23 snapshot of hospital activity, Hamilton General Hospital is at 98 per cent capacity, while McMaster Children’s Hospital is at 95 per cent.

The West Lincoln Memorial Hospital in Grimsby is at 129 per cent capacity.

“Hamilton’s healthcare partners are asking for the community’s help in preventing the spread of respiratory illness this fall/winter season and preserving access to the city’s urgent care and emergency resources for those who need them most,” the website says.

With files from Ashley Newport

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