Majority of Kingston region COVID-19 patients self-isolated before tests: public health

KFL&A Public Health has announced new cases of COVID-19 in the Kingston region. Getty Images

As of Tuesday afternoon, there are 11 cases of the novel coronavirus in the Kingston region, with eight of those cases identified in the last two days.

Nevertheless, the risk in Kingston for contracting the disease is currently low, and KFL&A Public Health believes, in part, it’s because many recent travellers are heeding public health warnings, and staying home once they arrive back home in Canada.

We will be getting more positive tests back in the future. I have no doubt,” said Dr. Kieran Moore, medical officer of health for KFL&A Public Health, “because we expected that as a community, if we asked returning travellers to come back for repatriation and the snowbirds and people returning from March break, it is expected we will continue to have more positive results.”

So far, Moore says, the vast majority of those who tested positive for COVID-19 in the Kingston region have been responsible, and self-isolated before they were tested for the disease.

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New COVID-19 assessment centre opens at Kingston’s Memorial Arena to make way for more people – Mar 20, 2020

He said public health officials have been busy getting in touch with the close contacts of the positive cases. As of Tuesday afternoon, Moore said public health had so far asked about 50 close contacts to completely quarantine themselves.

“That means they stay at home. They do not go out if they need anything, they use their …social network to have groceries brought to them or food brought to them,” Moore said.

Despite Moore expecting more cases to pop up in the region in the coming fututre, he feels the work that public health is doing by encouraging recent travellers to self-isolate is helping to slow the spread of the disease in Kingston and the surrounding regions.

At present, we have no intelligence or information to tell us that we have community spread. That’s what we’re working so aggressively on preventing, and that is to work with every returning traveller that should be self isolating too,” Moore said.

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As of Tuesday afternoon, Moore said health professional have tested around 400 people in the community.

“We’ve assessed approximately 40 to 50 people a day at our combined assessment centers between Lennox and Addington Community General Hospital and the Memorial Arena,” Moore said.

It takes 48 hours to get lab test results back from the COVID-19 tests, Moore said, adding that at all times, Kingston’s numbers have the potential to change drastically.

READ MORE: KFL&A Public Health to move coronavirus assessment clinic to Memorial Centre

Nevertheless, Moore assured that public health officials are working very hard not only to test for new patients, but to monitor those who have already tested positive for the disease, as well as their close contacts.

“We’re in daily contact with the current cases that have been diagnosed with COVID and all of their contacts on a regular basis,” Moore said.

The first three cases of COVID-19 were identified last week in two women, 44 and 62, and a 48-year-old man, who respectively travelled to Barbados, the United Kingdom and Spain.

Later in the week, Kingston’s fourth case was identified in a woman in her 70s who had recently returned from Portugal. She is the only patient in Kingston who has had to be hospitalized due to the virus. Moore said that her condition has improved since she was first admitted last Thursday.

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On Monday, KFL&A Public Health said three men and one woman contracted the virus.

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One man in his 40s who recently had contact with a traveller who tested positive for COVID-19, another man in his 30s who recently travelled to the United Kingdom, a man in his 70s who recently travelled to Singapore and a woman in her 70s who also recently travelled to Singapore all tested positive for the virus.

Tuesday morning, Global News confirmed three new cases of the virus tested in the city, then bringing the region’s total up to 11.

A man in his 20s, with recent travel to Mexico, a male pre-teen and a female teen, both of whom recently had contact with a traveller who tested positive for the virus, all contracted COVID-19. All are in self-isolation.

Despite staying positive about current health practices in the Kingston, Moore is still strongly urging residents to stay vigilant, to continue social distancing practices, to self-isolate when they can and to be vigilant about washing their hands.