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Kingston-area public health warns of COVID-19 exposure at 2 downtown restaurants

Click to play video: 'Downtown Kingston officials say restaurants are safe and adhering to covid protocols' Downtown Kingston officials say restaurants are safe and adhering to covid protocols
Possible exposure of covid-19 at a couple of Kingston restaurants – Mar 19, 2021

Editor’s note: This story includes a comment from the owner of Miss Bao that says the restaurant worked to follow public health guidelines, including getting contact tracing information from patrons.

KFL&A Public Health is asking those who attended two downtown restaurants last weekend to monitor for symptoms of COVID-19 after two positive case attended both establishments.

Dr. Kieran Moore, medical officer of health for the region, says a patron who later tested positive was at Miss Bao Restaurant on Princess Street the night of March 13, between 8 p.m. and 10:30 p.m.

Another patron who later tested positive was at the Lone Star Texas Grill Restaurant on March 13, between 6 p.m. and 8 p.m.

Read more: Public health order that limits gatherings extended in Kingston until end of April

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People who attended the restaurants between those times should monitor for symptoms and get tested immediately if any arise, Moore says.

A Facebook post from Miss Bao said management was alerted on Wednesday that a customer who had dined at the restaurant Saturday night had since tested positive for COVID-19. Owners decided to close the restaurant as a precaution.

Servers who dealt with the customer were ordered to self-isolate and to get tested immediately, but the restaurant owners have advised all staff to get their tests, even if asymptomatic, by March 20. According to the post, no staff have reported any symptoms so far.

“We certainly hope there is no further spread in this case,” the Facebook post said. The restaurant is planning to open March 25.

As for those who visited the restaurants the night of March 13, the health unit recommends they be tested within seven days, so by March 20.

The warnings were sent out to the public because contact tracers have not been able to reach all possible contacts.

Under a public health order first issued by KFL&A Public Health on March 13, restaurants are meant to get contact information for all patrons to help with contact tracing.

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Moore said in an interview Thursday that the health unit is still investigating both incidents, but contact tracers “didn’t have confidence that they actually recorded all of the names.”

“When you don’t have confidence, in an abundance of caution, we have to make a public announcement,” Moore said.

Zach Fang, co-owner of Miss Bao, says that he did have contact tracing information for “95 per cent” of his customers, and maybe only missed a few because they were from the same household.

Fang also claims that when he tried to provide contact tracers with the names of his patrons, that the health unit did not accept them, and asked his team to start contacting people. Fang claims he told the health unit that he did not have the resources to contact trace for them.

He said he was “extremely shocked” to see a notice from the health unit naming his restaurant, and said he has been trying to get in touch with them all of Thursday, with no avail.

The health unit said they had no comment in regards to Fang’s allegations.

Note that Saturday was the first night of a new public health order that requires restaurants to take down the contact information for every patron eating at the restaurant.

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