SCHIEDAM, NETHERLANDS - 2020/06/03: A health worker holding a test tube with samples from a suspected covid 19 patient during the tests. Employees of GGD Rotterdam make drive-thru coronavirus tests at a drive inn test location from people who apply suspecting of being infected and have complaints. Results are ready and passed on by telephone within 2 days. GGD is an agency of the Dutch government. (Photo by Robin Utrecht/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
Hamilton, Ont., reported 19 new COVID-19 cases on Friday, putting the city's overall number of cases up to 734 since the pandemic began.
There are now 727 confirmed novel coronavirus cases with another seven probable infections.
The city reported no new deaths as of June 5, holding at 40 the total lives lost in the pandemic since it began.
The city is down to just one institutional outbreak as of Friday. An outbreak at Aberdeen Gardens retirement residence that started on May 23, and that involved a single infected resident, has been declared over.
The city's remaining outbreak is in the COVID-19 unit at Hamilton General Hospital, where 10 staff members came down with the infection, according to public health.
Hamilton hospitals say, in all, they have 43 COVID-19 patients in care units — Hamilton Health Sciences has 22 while St. Joseph's hospitals say they have 21.
In an update on Friday afternoon, the city's medical officer of health said a recent concern for the agency is the number of cases "concentrated" in the 20- to 29-year-old age group.
Out of the city's 727 positive cases, 19 per cent (137) of the cases are in that age range. Dr. Elizabeth Richardson says cases of late are trending in the first half of that age group.
"In the last 10 days, 43 per cent of our cases have been in that age group. That's a significant shift," Richardson said.
Richardson suggested that the lack of consistency in applying preventive measures, such as physical distancing and wearing face coverings, may be the reason for the increase.
Hamilton public health is expected to launch a social media campaign over the next few weeks to target the 20- to 29-year-old age range. Richardson said the idea is to look at messages relevant to the age group that would reinforce preventive measures.
"We know as younger, older adolescents and younger adults, they tend to be in a certain stage of life where they're a little bit more risk-taking," Richardson said. "They're trying on different things, very social, and so we know that a lot of these messages can be difficult to take up and to follow."
To date, 542 of the city's 715 known COVID-19 cases — or 76 per cent — have been resolved.
Niagara Region reports no new COVID-19 cases, 1 death
Niagara public health reported the 61st death from COVID-19 in the region on Friday. No specific details were given except that it was the 50th death connected to a long-term care home or retirement residence.
The region reported no new coronavirus cases on Friday. On Wednesday, the region saw a whopping 40 new cases — the most Niagara has had in one day since the outbreak began.
The region has 707 total cases of COVID-19 with 83 of them active. The outbreak at Pioneer Flower Farms is responsible for at least 60 of the current cases.
An outbreak at Royal Rose Place, which lasted more than two months, was declared over as of Thursday by public health. The outbreak at the home began on March 31 and affected over 70 residents and close to 50 staff members.
Niagara now has three current institutional outbreaks at one long-term-care home (Garden City Manor in St. Catharines), one retirement home (Albright Manor in Lincoln), and at one unit of the Greater Niagara General Hospital.
Haldimand-Norfolk reports 5 new COVID-19 cases
Haldimand-Norfolk reported five new COVID-19 cases on Friday, putting their overall total number at 389 since the pandemic began.
Haldimand Norfolk health unit (HNHU) says 139 people have recovered since the pandemic started while 31 have died.
In keeping with the province's announcement to allow the return of short-term rentals, the region's medical officer of health revoked a public health order prohibiting the rentals.
"Accommodation owners should consult health and safety guidelines related to the tourism and hospitality sector when considering how they can reopen their doors to guests," the health unit said in a statement on Friday.
Halton region reports 6 new COVID-19 cases
For the second day in a row, Halton Region reported six new cases of novel coronavirus on Friday. The region now has 737 total cases, including 666 confirmed positive cases and 71 probable.
The region has 25 deaths tied to COVID-19 with 11 from a confirmed outbreak at an institution.
Public health says more than 83 per cent (608) of its cases have now been resolved.
The region is reporting no institutional outbreaks as of June 5.
Of the cases in the region, 78 are connected to residents or patients in an institution.
Brant County reports no new COVID-19 cases
Brant County's health unit (BCHU) had no new COVID-19 cases on Friday. The region has 111 confirmed cases.
In an update on Friday afternoon, Dr. Elizabeth Urbantke said as a result of Ontario's recent opening of asymptomatic testing, the assessment centre in Brantford has had, on average, 25 asymptomatic people being tested daily.
"Since the opening of asymptomatic testing, no residents have tested positive for COVID-19 while indicating they were symptom-free," Urbantke said.
Meanwhile, Urbantke says she's "reassured" by the plan that was put forward by Haldimand Norfolk health unit's housing of 119 asymptomatic or minimally symptomatic migrant workers in Brantford.
Urbantke admitted she didn't know about and wasn't involved in the plan when HNHU began moving the workers to the city on the weekend.
"Obviously, we would have preferred to be involved right from the get-go. But I have seen the plan and over the last few days have seen that there haven't been any compliance issues."
The county still has four deaths and 102 total resolved cases.
There are no institutional or community outbreaks as of Wednesday.
Questions about COVID-19? Here are some things you need to know:
Symptoms can include fever, cough and difficulty breathing — very similar to a cold or flu. Some people can develop a more severe illness. People most at risk of this include older adults and people with severe chronic medical conditions like heart, lung or kidney disease. If you develop symptoms, contact public health authorities.
To prevent the virus from spreading, experts recommend frequent handwashing and coughing into your sleeve. They also recommend minimizing contact with others, staying home as much as possible and maintaining a distance of two metres from other people if you go out. In situations where you can't keep a safe distance from others, public health officials recommend the use of a non-medical face mask or covering to prevent spreading the respiratory droplets that can carry the virus.