Kingston’s medical officer of health believes the health unit is getting control of a major COVID-19 outbreak relating to Queen’s University.
This comes as KFL&A Public Health reports only six new cases Tuesday, for a total of 94 active cases in the region. The latest update from Queen’s on its COVID-19 tracker says only three new cases were associated with the school Monday.
Compared to the 34 cases seen over the weekend, and the more than 80 cases seen at the school since March 8, Moore says he’s seeing progress.
“I believe our outbreaks are getting under control. We’re not seeing it spread in the community. We have not had an impact on the hospital. There’s no one in the intensive care unit,” he said.
Most of the recent cases, about 70 per cent of them, have come back as variants of concern. The more contagious nature of the new variants has made this particular outbreak more challenging than others before it, Moore said.
Molecular testing for all the but one of the region’s samples have yet to come back, but Moore says he’s confidently guessing the outbreak is related to the B.1.1.7. strain.
The region moved to yellow on the province’s COVID-19 framework Monday due to the quickly rising cases over the last two weeks, but Moore says he believes if the trend continues downwards, the region will avoid moving into a more strict colour zone — like orange or red — this coming Friday.
He said usually he meets with the chief medical officer of health to go over Kingston’s data either Tuesday or Wednesday, and Ontario’s cabinet then makes a decision on colour zones Thursday evening.
“I haven’t had the conversation just yet, but we’re watching the data very closely,” he said.
He also noted that with the current public health order in place that limits gatherings to five people inside and outside, in some ways, the city of Kingston is already operating under lockdown-level restrictions.
“If we adhere to that, of keeping our social circles five or less indoors or outdoors, then I don’t think we’ll have to climb up to orange or red and have a potential negative impact on businesses,” he said.
Despite his confidence, Moore says the fight against COVID-19, and specifically the more contagious variant, is not over locally.
“April will be a difficult month. We’re going to try to be putting needles in arms. We’re going to be trying to limit the spread of the virus that’s trying to come back into our community.”
So far, Moore says 43,000 locals have received their first dose of the vaccine through the mass vaccination clinics and immunizations at local pharmacies.
But still, shots are only available for priority groups, those 75 and up and 60 and older at area pharmacies, so Moore is urging people to hold down the fort a little longer.
— With files from Global News’ Darryn DavisView link »