KINGSTON, ONT. -- Children aged 12 to 17 will soon need to be vaccinated against COVID-19 to participate in organized indoor sports in the Kingston region.

The Kingston, Frontenac, Lennox & Addington (KFL&A) Public Health unit said in a release Wednesday that, starting Dec. 6, children and teens would need to provide proof that they had at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine or a valid medical exemption in order to take part in organized indoor sports activities.

Medical officer of health Dr. Piotr Oglaza issued the new rules via a letter of instruction.

"Organized sports are defined as sports and recreation activities including, but not limited to, sports leagues, organized pick-up sports, dance classes, gymnastics, martial arts, and swimming classes, or as otherwise described in the Ministry of Health’s proof of vaccination guidance for businesses and organizations under the Reopening Ontario Act, 2020," the health unit said.

Starting Feb. 25, 2022, a full series of vaccination will be required.

KFL&A Public Health says indoor sports tick all the boxes as high-risk settings, with close contact, closed spaces, crowded places, prolonged exposure, and forceful exhalation.

COVID-19 cases in the KFL&A region have been increasing rapidly in recent weeks. According to the health unit, there are presently 220 active cases in the region, and the seven-day average is 71.3 cases per 100,000 population. For comparison, Ottawa has 303 active cases and its seven-day average per 100,000 population is 24.6 cases.

More than 90 per cent of KFL&A residents 12 and older have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine and 87.4 per cent are considered fully vaccinated.

The health unit said the proof of vaccination requirements for indoor sports would remain in effect until the medical officer of health no longer deems it necessary. Failure to comply could result in a fine of up to $100,000.