Five cases of COVID-19 linked to Kingston, Ont. house party
KINGSTON -- At least five recent cases of COVID-19 in Kingston, Ont. are being traced to a house party involving 40 to 50 people near Queen's University two weeks ago.
Kingston, Frontenac, Lennox and Addington Medical Officer of Health Dr. Kieran Moore says everyone who attended a house party on Sept. 18 in the 500 block of Johnson Street are required to self-isolate and get tested for novel coronavirus.
Once tested, everyone is asked to self-isolate until they receive a negative test result.
In a statement, Dr. Moore says KFL&A Public Health decided to go public with the five cases of COVID-19 linked to the party because of the spread of the virus.
"The well-being of these individuals is our top priority along with ensuring adherence to unmonitored private social gathering regulations," said Dr. Moore.
"The rationale for the public notification is that we have found evidence of propagation, but we have been unable to identify all attendees through case investigation."
Johnson Street is located near Queen's University.
Lily Hobson, Juliana Costa, and Rebecca Bruni all live on Johnson Street. They say, they remember seeing between 40 and 50 people at a party that night.
“Lot’s of big groups walking towards the party, and then people leaving the party because it was too busy. But only very little amounts of people leaving the party,” explains Hobson.
“You’d see a group of eight people wearing the white shirts, and then another group of eight people wearing the white shirts, and then those groups would meet up, so it was just a lot of different groups,” explains Costa. “I remember hearing it was shoulder to shoulder inside.”
They say the news of more cases in the city is not something to ignore.
“Frustrated. Unsafe. Upset too,” say all three girls.
“Our second semesters is online, and it just makes you wonder if we’re going to go back on lockdown? If things just keep getting worse and people keep acting this way,” says Costa.
Health officials are following up with close contacts of the confirmed cases of COVID-19.
Kingston, Frontenac, Lennox and Addington Public Health reported three new cases of COVID-19 on Thursday. All three were men under the age of 19.
In a statement to CTV News Ottawa, Queen's University says the health and safety of students, staff, faculty and the entire Kingston community is a key concern during the COVID-19 pandemic.
"Today’s news from public health that five recent cases can be traced back to a large gathering in the community illustrates the importance of following public health guidelines – especially those governing group gatherings," said Queen's University.
"Large gatherings make contact tracing by officials difficult and risk wider spread of the virus. The university continues to work closely with KFL&A Public Health as well as its municipal partners to educate students about local and provincial public health requirements and to support their enforcement."
Queen's University adds it is "extremely important" for anyone who may have attended the gathering off-campus on Sept. 18 or suspects they are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 to self-isolated and get tested.
The COVID-19 assessment centre at the Beechgrove Complex at 51 Heakes Lane in Kingston is open daily from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. and Queen’s University students may access the assessment centre located adjacent to Student Wellness Services in Mitchell Hall from Monday to Friday, 5 to 8 p.m., and by appointment only.