'It's like a bad movie,' says Hamilton mayor of provincial COVID-19 modelling

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There are 11 newly confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Hamilton as of Friday (April 3) afternoon.

That brings the city's total to 138 cases, of which 45 have been resolved, according to the City of Hamilton's coronavirus website.

Earlier in the day, the province released the details of a model that maps the possible spread and impacts of COVID-19.

The model predicts that the virus can kill anywhere between 3,000 to 15,000 people in Ontario by the time it's run its course.

At a daily virtual media briefing, Mayor Fred Eisenberger likened the grim modelling to "a bad movie that's just getting worse."

He did, however, express his confidence that the numbers might help people take the threat of the virus more seriously and that physical distancing practices will improve as a result.

"Everyone has to come together to fight this virus," he said. "I know it's frustrating but I'm determined we will minimize this."

There have been two deaths related to the virus in Hamilton, both were residents of Heritage Green nursing home in Stoney Creek where an outbreak of the virus has been declared.

On Thursday, it was announced that a second long-term care residence in Hamilton, the Cardinal Retirement Residence, had declared an outbreak at that facility.

So far, the city says, there have been 33 cases of COVID-19 in Hamilton that indicate that there is spread in the community, in addition to other travel-related cases.

The stats show that overall, since the first case in Hamilton, 24 per cent of confirmed COVID-19 cases were identified as community-acquired. In the last 10 days, 44 per cent of confirmed local COVID-19 cases are community-acquired.

In an effort to curb the spread of COVID-19 in the community, the city has announced a number of closures around the city this week where people have been found to be congregating.

Most recently, Hamilton's Emergency Operations Centre director, Paul Johnson, offered a reminder that public golf courses were closed.

At Friday's media briefing, however, Johnson said that on Thursday a group of golfers were busted on one of the city's courses and Hamilton Police has actually fined them.

"That's an expensive round of golf," Johnson quipped.

He also touched on reports that people were removing or destroying the apparatuses in place to keep people off the escarpment stairs, which were also closed this week because too many people were still accessing them.

"We ask people to respect the changes we've made [to keep people safe]," Johnson said. "We are out enforcing. We'll take it very seriously if they keep getting moved and destroyed."

The HSR introduced far stricter physical distancing measures as of Friday. They include limits on the number of people on the bus at any given time and it originally asked all passengers who use personal mobility devices (PMD) to travel with a companion.

There was much concern, however, that people who use PMDs might not be able to rely on others in order to access the HSR.

In response to those concerns, Johnson said that DARTS will be offering bus stop to bus stop service for HSR customers. Users will have to call ahead (at least an hour) to arrange for a pick up at the desired stop.

More details on this supplemental service can be found on the City's website.

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