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3 health-care workers diagnosed with COVID-19 at Kingston Health Sciences Centre, 47 total for the region

KFL&A Public Health has announced new COVID-19 numbers for the Kingston region. Kraig Krause / Global News

There are now a total of three health-care workers who have been diagnosed with COVID-19 at Kingston Health Sciences Centre’s (KHSC) hospitals.

KFL&A Public Health has also announced a total of 47 novel coronavirus cases in the region as of Thursday afternoon.

Last week, KHSC announced one health-care worker at Kingston General Hospital was diagnosed with the virus. Global News learned Thursday that number had jumped to three.

READ MORE: 1 staff member at Providence Manor, 3 at Providence Care Hospital diagnosed with COVID-19

In a statement sent to Global News, Dr. David Pichora, KHSC’s president and CEO, said these three cases have not hindered operations at Hotel Dieu or Kingston General Hospital.

“As part of our enhanced infection prevention and control procedures to help reduce the transmission of COVID-19, KHSC has been restricting visitors and actively screening anyone who comes into our buildings for several weeks now.”

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Both hospitals have been limiting visitations and elective surgeries since mid-March in order to prevent the spread of the virus.

With these three cases at KHSC, four health-care professionals with Providence Care and two health-care workers at family clinics in the region, there are now a total of nine health professional who have the disease in the region.

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Regional numbers

Although KFL&A Public Health has identified one new case in the region, the good news, according to medical officer of health Dr. Kieran Moore, is that eight of the region’s cases have now recovered from the virus.

Moore said although numbers are growing, he’s encouraged they’re not seeing cases doubling or tripling as other communities are seeing.

“We were at 17 cases for a long period, and then there was the repatriation. There were a couple of parties in town where the infection spread. We hopefully have learned our lesson that we’re not going to have retirement parties. We’re not going to have birthday parties. We’re not going to have bonfires.” Moore said.

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In preparation for rapidly growing numbers, Moore said local hospitals have freed up 400 to 500 beds for extra capacity should they need it.

“We’ve doubled the capacity for hospital beds and then through a phased approach, if those beds get overwhelmed in all, we have to prepare for the worst. We’re hoping for the best, but we’re preparing for the worst.”

READ MORE: Archived: Live updates on coronavirus in Canada

If hospital beds fill up they have an arrangement with Queen’s University and St. Lawrence College to make dorms available for health care staff or stable patients.

The city is also making the Leon’s Centre available for 100 cots if the need arises.

The city’s assessment centre is testing 50 to 100 patients per day, Moore said.

“So we have been testing well over 900 members of our community. I think that’s a good testing rate,” he added.

Public Health is hoping to test more in the community but they are currently awaiting approval from the Ministry of Health.

Moore said Kingston labs will be able to handle the higher capacity of testing, since they’ve further reduced time to get lab results — it’s now between 12-24 hours.

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