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Employees need to be screened for COVID-19: KFL&A Public Health

The health unit says people with COVID-19 are going into work, causing added transmission locally. The health unit suggests screening and vaccine policies to curb the surge. Megan King / CKWS TV

KFL&A Public Health says it’s finding evidence people are not staying home when they are sick — causing COVID-19 transmission in the workplace.

As of Monday, the health unit reported 179 active cases of COVID-19 in the region, the highest active case count ever, over the course of the pandemic. Hospitalizations are also high, with 10 people being treated locally, five in intensive care units and two on ventilators.

Read more: Kingston region sees highest ever single-day jump in COVID-19 cases

“This surge is mainly driven by cases among individuals who have not been fully vaccinated, however, we have also noted transmission from vaccinated individuals with minor symptoms,” states a memo sent to the Kingston Chamber of Commerce from the health unit.

These individuals are not staying home when they are sick and showing symptoms of COVID-19, resulting transmission in the workplace, the health unit said.

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To address this issue, the health unit is asking local businesses to screen every person who works at their establishment — before entering the business. This screening is also required by law for any patrons of meeting or event spaces, restaurants, personal care services, businesses that provide teaching and instruction, sports and recreational fitness facilities and photography studios.

The health unit additionally recommends all workplaces implement a COVID-19 vaccination policy. Workers would provide proof of full vaccination, a medical exemption or face consistent testing and education sessions.

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The health unit distributed a toolkit to help local businesses implement such a policy Tuesday.

Dr. Piotr Oglaza, KFL&A’s medical officer of health, will be holding a press conference later on Tuesday to address the situation.

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