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Hamilton doctor predicts return to lockdown “by this Friday”

A Hamilton public health doctor and communicable disease specialist is predicting that the city could be headed back into COVID-19 lockdown “by this Friday.”

Dr. Doug Sider – a retired physician who had his licence reinstated to join the fight against COVID-19 – was present at a Business Improvement Area (BIA) Advisory Committee meeting on March 23rd and expressed his belief that the city is quickly moving towards a shift back into the grey ‘lockdown’ zone of Ontario’s COVID-19 framework.

“If we’re not in grey by this Friday, I will be highly surprised, because it’s only a matter of time” said Sider.

Dr. Sider also expresses that the rise of new COVID-19 variants of concern is a factor driving the uptick in new confirmed cases in the city.

“We’re seeing increasing percentages in our cases due to the COVID-19 variants: these viruses that have mutated subtly or not-so-subtly and are more transmissible and potentially causing more severe illness, hospitalizations, and death.”

In fact, around 30 per cent of Hamilton’s current positive cases are due to these variants of concern; and it’s expected that they will quickly become the dominant COVID-19 strains in the coming weeks and months.

“By probably the latter part of May, we’ll see that most of the cases, if not all of the cases, that we’re documenting in Hamilton are due to the variants,” Sider explains.

On the positive side, Sider says those variants – especially the B.1.1.7 variant first discovered in the UK – are still “very responsive” to vaccinations, which is good news as the city continues to roll out COVID-19 vaccines to eligible portions of the population.

Whether or not the provincial government will ultimately make the call to move Hamilton back into the grey ‘lockdown’ zone remains to be seen.

Currently, Hamilton has 713 known active cases of COVID-19, and an overall total of 12,012 cases confirmed since the pandemic began last March.

Read more on the city website.

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