Hamilton ‘epicentre of COVID,’ says Niagara’s top doc

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Published August 30, 2021 at 10:56 pm

Mr. Mustafa Hirji is the acting medical officer of health in Niagara Region. (YouTube)

Add “epicentre of COVID” to the list of ways Hamilton has been described over the years.

That was the phrase that Dr. Mustafa Hirji, the acting medical of officer of health in neighbouring Niagara Region, used during a media briefing on Monday. Dr. Hiji shared a graph that plotted increases new cases reported by the public health units for Hamilton, Niagara and several other population centres in Ontario.

“It (Hamilton) is the epicentre of COVID in the province, It has gone up far higher and far quicker than anyone else. Us (Niagara) being just across the border from Hamilton, there was a high likelihood that their cases would start to spill over to us. Unfortunately, we are starting to see a bit of that.”

Hamilton has the second-worst COVID-19 positivity rate in Ontario at 6.53 per cent, which is more than double the provincial average of 2.90. Neighbouring Niagara has a positivity rate of 3.07, which is eighth-worst among the 34 public helath units.

Hamilton’s seven-day rolling average of new cases is 73.57 after 74 were reported on Monday.

The city’s vaccination uptake has lagged behind the rest of the province’s. The City of Hamilton says that it has vaccinated 63.3 per cent of its total population, compared to the 67.1 per cent vaccine completition across Ontario.

An estimated 69.8 per cent of Hamilton residents have received at least their first dose. The provincewide uptake is 73.0 per cent.

Hirji’s counterpart in Hamilton, Dr. Elizabeth Richardson, alongside Mayor Fred Eisenberger and city emergency operations manager Jason Thorne, give COVID-19 briefings on alternate Mondays. Their last update was on Aug. 23.

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