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Meet Dr. Hugh Guan, KFL&A’s interim medical officer of health

Meet Dr. Hugh Guan, associate medical officer for health for KFL&A Public Health. Guan has stepped in to help guide KFL&A after Dr. Kieran Moore's promotion to Ontario's top doctor. KFL&A Public Health

Kingston-area residents are getting their first chance to hear from the region’s new top doctor.

Dr. Hugh Guan was appointed to the interim role as KFL&A Public Health’s medical officer earlier this month, following Dr. Kieran Moore’s swift promotion to Ontario’s chief medical officer of health.

Thursday, Guan met the media for the first time since being thrust into the public spotlight to take questions about how he’s dealing with the new role and how he will deal with the COVID-19 pandemic.

Read more: Dr. Kieran Moore looks back on time as Kingston, Frontenac, and Lennox & Addington’s top doctor

Guan said the last few weeks have been an adjustment, but that he’s been working closely with Moore over the course of the pandemic, so local public health issues are not new to him.

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“Both myself and Dr. Moore, we’ve been at this for the past year and a half or more now,” he said.

“(I’ve) learned a lot from Dr. Moore. And I’m sure I have much more to learn going forwards.”

With only three active cases in the region as of Thursday, Guan expressed his gratitude for the work the community has been putting in to bring numbers down.

Read more: Kingston’s medical officer of health named Ontario’s next top doctor

“I truly am cautiously optimistic of of the path we’re treading in terms of cases,” he said

He also credited a robust vaccination strategy for the region’s low numbers. More than 75 per cent of adults in KFL&A have their first dose as of Thursday

“I really must thank both the public and our public health teams, our primary care teams, our our pharmacies are really, really being able to push out a vaccine so quickly, so rapidly to protect everyone,” he said.

Guan announced during the call that as of the week of June 28, all adults who already have their first dose will be eligible to book their second doses in Ontario.

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He also noted that this week, the region is expecting about 30,000 vaccines, mostly Pfizer and Moderna, so the push to get everyone fully vaccinated is in full swing.

He said truthfully, he knows he inherited a great situation from his predecessor.

“My job right now is much easier than Dr. Moore’s, instead of providing bad news every day, I can provide hope. So he has left us in a very good place in terms of just almost no cases within KFLA extremely high immunization rates,” Guan said.

Guan will remain at the helm, along with interim KFL&A CEO Linda Murray, until the board of health chooses Moore’s replacement. He says his main goal during that time will be recovering from the pandemic.

“Moving towards that future whereby we can loosen some restrictions, where we do have everyone covered with immunizations and just getting back to maybe not the old normal, but to a new normal,” he said.

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