Kingston moves to 'yellow' status due to increased COVID-19 activity
Kingston moved to "yellow" status level due to the COVID-19 pandemic. (Kimberley Johnson/CTV News Ottawa0
KINGSTON -- Kingston’s public health raised the regions community status to "yellow," following a number of new cases of COVID-19 over the last few weeks.
The move happened Friday, after Kingston, Frontenac, Lennox and Addington Public Health announced four new cases of COVID-19 in the city.
There have been 16 new cases since Sept. 9, with another two announced Saturday. Those numbers a cause for concern for the Medical Officer of Health Dr. Kieran Moore.
"The number in our review are going up slowly and steadily and we want to get a handle on it," explains Moore.
There are currently 11 active cases of COVID-19 in Kingston, with no one in hospital. Most cases are women under 30.
Moore says the majority of cases are travel related, coming from hot spots like Ottawa and Toronto, with either people hosting visitors or going to the city themselves, and bringing it back.
People are also bursting their social bubbles, and Moore says that public health officials are having to contact more and more people through contract tracing.
He says he thinks the city is doing well during the COVID-19 pandemic, but he still wants people to remain vigilant.
"We want small little waves that we can manage and control within our community," Dr. Moore tells CTV News Ottawa.
Public health has also sent a reminder that anyone with COVID-19 symptoms, or who has tested positive must self-isolate for 14 days. Anyone caught breaking the rules could face a $5,000 fine.
The following people must self-isolate:
- Are identified as a person diagnosed with COVID-19,
- have the signs or symptoms of COVID-19, have similar signs or symptoms, or who have tested for COVID-19 and are awaiting results
- Otherwise have reasonable grounds to believe they have symptoms of COVID-19.
- Are a close contact of a person identified in (a) or by KFL&A Public Health.
New COVID-19 Assessment Centre in Kingston
On Saturday, the Kingston’s Health Science Centre opened a new assessment centre at the Beechgrove Complex between Portsmouth Olympic Harbour and St. Lawrence College.
It was previously at the Leon’s Centre, which was filled with long lines and reports of hours-long wait times.
The new assessment centre opened with part of a plan to tackle that. Along with the permanent location inside that is now open seven days a week, Kingston Health Science Centre says a drive-through portion will be open for the next two weekends.
Residents visiting the line say wait times significantly improved Saturday.
"I think it’s been an improvement," says Matt Galbraith. "When I got here they told me the wait was about an hour, which was significantly less than what I expected."
"We’ve been here for about a half an hour and it’s moved pretty quickly," says Sarah Melcher, who brought her daughter to be tested because she had been showing symptoms.
George Young says he visited because his 5-year-old son Wesley was showing symptoms, and they wanted to be sure.
"I had all these thoughts in my head that I’m going to be waiting four or five hours like you see on the news, but really this was quick," he explains. "So it was great."
Helping to move residents along too is the provinces new testing criteria, says Kingston Health Sciences Centre Vice-President Elizabeth Bardon.
"We can really prioritize people who are showing symptoms or who are known to have contact with a positive case."
While the drive through testing operation is only temporary, health officials say they will continue to assess the need, as the province grapples with the second wave of the pandemic.
The assessment centre at the Beechgrove Complex, between Portsmouth Olympic Harbour and St. Lawrence College will be open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily.