Case numbers continue to climb in relation to a COVID-19 outbreak at Kingston General Hospital that was declared on Monday.
At least a dozen cases have now been linked to the 5 Davies Unit — six staff members and six patients.
Kingston Health Sciences Centre (KHSC) is overseeing the response to the outbreak that comes less than a week into Step 2 of Ontario’s reopening plan.
“Things are opening up, people are visiting a bit more, travelling a little bit more and so I think we’re at a time frame when, you know, people are feeling a little more comfortable than they were a few months ago. And so, we may just have more cases by natural association,” says Elizabeth Bardon, COVID-19 Incident Commander at KHSC.
In a statement issued Tuesday evening, Bardon said, “In a situation like this, additional cases are not unexpected and we continue to monitor and take all appropriate precautions for the safety of patients, families and staff.”
That includes closing the 5 Davies Unit to admissions and continuing to monitor those deemed high-risk.
“We’re still looking at all of the patients and staff in the area to make sure that we are swabbing and testing, and we will continue to do regular COVID testing at quite frequent intervals over the next little while,” Bardon continued.
When asked about the vaccination status of those involved in the outbreak, Bardon says there is “a combination of people that are fully vaccinated, partially vaccinated, or not yet vaccinated.”
She says that when it comes to hospital staff, all are given access to the vaccine, but tracking who is vaccinated is challenging.
“The hospital does not have access automatically to someone’s vaccination status,” says Bardon. “Even if they’ve gotten vaccinated at our own clinic, it goes into the provincial system. So we are asking all of our staff to provide proof of their vaccination status to the occupational health department so that we can verify that they have completed their full two doses of vaccine.”
The outbreak at Kingston General Hospital has pushed active cases in the region up to 17.