KFL&A Public Health has confirmed there are three new cases of the novel coronavirus in the Kingston region.
That would bring the region’s total up to 96 cases, with 33 active cases.
Many of the region’s cases stem from an outbreak at a local nail salon, Binh’s Nail Salon, in Kingston’s west end.
Several businesses were forced to close due to exposure from the nail salon outbreak, including two other nail salons, Kingdom Nails and Georgia Nail Salon, which both had employees test positive for the disease. Public health said the employees at the second two nail salons had a link to Binh’s.
The Rustic Spud, a downtown restaurant, and the patio at Amherstview Golf Club have both had to close after employees tested positive for the virus that causes COVID-19. These closures were also linked to the outbreak at Binh’s.
In an interview on Thursday, Dr. Kieran Moore said that of the three new cases identified, only one had a link to the previous outbreak. A second employee at Georgia Nail salon tested positive for the disease. Moore said that employee may have been serving customers, and therefore is asking any client of the salon to immediately get tested and to self-isolate for 14 days.
He said a second person tested positive between Wednesday and Thursday, after returning home from Europe, but that person has not had any interaction with the public since.
“They followed the federal Quarantine Act. They have been isolated from the community,” Moore said. This person has no link to the nail salon outbreak.
Finally, Moore said the third case has no link to travel or to the current outbreak in the city, but did have visitors from the Greater Toronto Area. Public health believes that is how they contracted the virus.
Finally, Moore said one of the 33 active cases, a family member of a Binh’s Nail Salon employee who tested positive for COVID-19, is currently in the intensive care unit with severe symptoms of the disease.
In general, case numbers have slowed significantly over the last several days, with no new cases at all identified Wednesday.
Moore said he was optimistic that the nail salon outbreak had been contained, but added that there is still possibility for more cases.
“We’re not out of the woods yet. We probably have a couple of weeks because we know the incubation period can be as long as 14 days for this virus,” he said.
Nevertheless, Moore said the peak from the nail salon outbreak hit around June 25, and that he’s not seeing the virus spread quickly through the community, which is a good sign that the outbreak has been overall contained.
“This is the result of our community taking this seriously, getting tested,” Moore said.
Over the last two weeks, more than 4,700 people have gotten tested for COVID-19, with just under 750 people visiting local assessment centres on Canada Day.
As for the source of the nail salon outbreak, Moore said it’s still unclear how the virus got into Binh’s Nail Salon. He says public health believes the outbreak came from an employee, rather than a client, but there’s no clear travel history or close-contact link to pinpoint for mode of transmission.
He added that public health nurses are still looking into links that have yet to be explored for each of the infected employees, but that at this time, the source of the outbreak is listed as community transmission.
“New information comes to light every day that we try to validate and verify,” Moore said.
On Tuesday, Kingston police said they had received reports on Binh’s operating illegally under Stage 1 of the province’s reopening plans, and taking clients covertly.
Moore said police have yet to report any confirmed clients of the salon before June 12, when the region moved into Stage 2.
“I think that would be important, that they inform us from a public health vantage point because those individuals should be part of the quarantine order. We would want to ensure that they don’t have symptoms, that they get tested if they have symptoms,” he said.
Moore added that public health would not take any disciplinary action, since it would fall under Kingston police purview, but the information would be important for contact tracing.View link »