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14 cases of COVID-19 reported in Kingston over the weekend, 36 active

Despite seeing a significant jump in cases over the last week, Kingston's COVID-19 community status has remained green. Kraig Krause / Global News

KFL&A Public Health is reporting a hike of 14 new cases of COVID-19 in the region over the weekend.

With four more cases deemed resolved, the region currently has 36 active cases.

Read more: Employee at midtown Kingston McDonald’s reports positive COVID-19 test

The health unit provided the following breakdown of all of this weekend’s cases:

  • three women in their 20s, transmitted though close contact
  • a woman in her 20s, whose mode of transmission is under investigation
  • a male health-care worker in his 20s, travel-related
  • a man in his 20s whose mode of transmission is under investigation
  • five men in their 20s, who caught the virus through close contact
  • a woman in her 40s, who caught the disease through close contact
  • a man in his 40s, whose mode of transmission is under investigation
  • a male between 10-19,  whose mode of transmission is under investigation

At least one of those cases is a St. Lawrence College student, according to a tweet from the school sent out Monday. This is the college’s second student to test positive for the virus over the last week.

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Despite seeing a significant jump in cases over the last week, Kingston’s COVID-19 community status has remained green.

According to the KF&LA website, a region should be moved into the “yellow” community status when weekly incidence rate is 10 to 24.9 per 100,000, the per cent positivity is 0.5 to 1.2 per cent, there are repeated outbreaks in multiple sectors or settings or there is an increasing or number of large outbreaks and the level of community transmission or non-epi-linked cases are stable or increasing.

As of Monday, the Kingston region’s incidence rate is 15.5 cases per 100,000, its per cent positivity stands at 0.95 per cent, and there are three outbreaks in the region — all indicators that the region could be moved into the yellow community status.

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Outbreak declared by KFL&A Public Health at Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic School – Nov 12, 2020

Dr. Kieran Moore, medical officer of health for the region, says he expects to see the region moved into the yellow status by the end of the week. He said the province will have the final say in that decision. Nevertheless, Moore said the recent uptick in local cases is concerning.

We’ve never had this number of cases suddenly show up. So I am worried we’re seeing it in a young population. We’re seeing it cases in certain pockets of the community and in multiple different workplaces. So it’s a tremendous amount of work for our team,” Moore said.

On Friday, Moore said most new cases had some type of link to travel, but over the weekend, many new cases were linked to workplace outbreaks, like those at fast food restaurants. Locally, cases have popped up at two McDonald’s and one A&W restaurant.

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“Now we’re seeing transmission in workplaces. So you may have heard, many fast food restaurants in our area have had workers that have come down with COVID-19, and we’re actively investigating those outbreaks as well, and in many different fast food restaurants throughout Kingston,” Moore said.

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Moore believes the increase in local cases is a result of spillover community transmission in nearby urban centres, which have much higher case counts.

We’re basically experiencing increases in COVID  because the Greater Toronto Area and Ottawa areas are experiencing increased cases. It’s natural that it’s going to spread further across Ontario as a result,” Moore said.

He believes that once the restrictions are in place in the larger urban areas, cases will hopefully also go down in the Kingston region, However, he noted that if cases continue to rise elsewhere, travel restrictions may need to be put in place to slow the spread.

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“If the GTA rates keep going up and we continue to see spillover across Ontario, travel is going to have to be addressed at a provincial level,” Moore said.