After a boom in cases as Kingston and the area experienced its third wave of COVID-19, Dr. Kieran Moore, Medical Officer of Health for Kingston, Frontenac, Lennox and Addington (KFL&A) Public Health had a positive outlook during a media call on Friday, May 21, 2021.
“We’ve had only three new cases today. We’ve had 10 individuals whose COVID-19 infection has resolved. We still do, though, have three people in the intensive care unit setting at Kingston Health Sciences Center as a reminder of the severe implications of this virus,” Moore said Friday. “We wish them in their families the very best.”
“I just want to thank the community. Our counts of COVID-19 cases in our community are heading in the right direction, especially going into a long weekend.”
Moore went on to explain, “The rate of infection is now heading to around 18.3 per 100,000, over the last week, the percentage of our tests that are positive is 0.77, which, again, is heading in the right direction.”
To put that in perspective, Moore said “There are areas in this province with rates of illness that are 10 times, what we’re currently experiencing, and whose percentage of tests that are positive are still 10 times our rate.”
Dr. Moore was also positive about the public’s vaccination rate.
“I also want to celebrate that many of you have come forward to be immunized. Today in KFL&A, 53.5 per cent of our adult population has received at least their first dose of vaccine. We have administered 10,000 doses in the last seven days within KFL&A, and we intend to immunize 10,000 more, at a minimum, every week going forward through the end of May and all of June,” he said, noting that he is hopeful that “If we get any extra supply, I want to let the community know that we’ve built capacity to be able to immunize many more than 10,000 per week up to 20,000 per week. If we get the vaccine.”
Moore continued with the positive update on the uptake in COVID-19 vaccines among the local population, and that “92.3 per cent of those over 60 in our community have been vaccinated, as well, which is another great achievement.”
“We know that those that need to get admitted to hospital, if they get infected with COVID-19, are mainly those that are older, in our community,” he explained, “and to have achieved 92.3 per cent of our over 60s getting protected I just think is amazing, and thank everyone for their keen interest in protection.”
It is through the vaccination strategy that the community will find itself returning to normalcy, Moore expressed.
“That is our strategy to get out of this pandemic, and right now it’s working for us, together with our community embracing the initial public health measures that are in play. We want a safe summer. And the best means of achieving that is through immunizing our community and staying local as best you can,” he said.
School children to be vaccinated soon
A third point of Moore’s call was to point out that the Health Unit will be working with school boards in order to allow children “12 to 17 years of age to be able to receive a vaccine at one of our mass immunization clinics, the week of June 7 And the week of June 14. So we’re very happy to be working with them and we’ll have further details as that gets unveiled.”
The Provincial government’s reopening plan
Moore commented on the provincial reopening plan, noting that, “it appears that that is a very data-driven decision making process. They’ll be monitoring the risk of illness in our community, the percentage of our population that has become immunized, as well as watching the impact of COVID-19 on our hospital sector partners, including admissions to hospital, the use of intensive care settings, as well as those requiring intubation.”
“So, that is quite transparent, it’s accountable to all of us, what we’re trying to achieve, the health system that we’re trying to protect, and the community that we’re trying to prevent illness in,” he said.
There’s a three week cycle of opening, after monitoring this data, if the region is achieving the goals that have been set by the government, in terms of the proportion of population that’s been immunized, Moore explained.
“We have goals of immunization, first and second doses, as a community and I’m very confident we’ll achieve that first goal of 60 per cent immunized with first doses, as the first step,” he continued, noting that this will occur while Public Health and the provinicial government monitor the number of people admitted to hospital intensive care.
“We’re in a much better place than we were simply 10 days ago where, if you recall, we had cases at 50 per 100,000,” Moore expressed.
“We have multiple different outbreaks in the community, and we’re now heading in a better, a better direction. I just have to thank the community for adhering to the best practices — it is working for us — as well as our community embracing immunization. That is such a positive step in us responding to recovering from this pandemic. “
Questioned about AstraZeneca (AZ), Moore said, “The time frame is, for those that received their first dose between March 10 in the 19, that you are now eligible — it’s over or around 10 weeks after that first dose — to receive your second dose of AstraZeneca. That process of getting AstraZeneca to the pharmacies is happening as we speak. So, that’s some good news in our community that the second doses should be available very soon.”
Moore said people who received a first dose of AZ should contact the pharmacy or care partner from whom they received their first dose between March 10 and 19. “I received mine on March 23. I’ll be calling to get my second dose of AstraZeneca through my pharmacy because it’s clearer now that the second doses will be arriving very, very soon.”
He suggested, “You could call them and put your name on their waitlist,” and that “it could be as early as Monday that they’re putting the green light that their clinics are open.”
More vaccines are on the way
Moore addressed the recent seeming shortage of vaccines in the region saying, “Over the last two weeks, the GTA got a significant amount of the provincial supply to deal with the hotspots where they had the highest risk of infection. So our amount of vaccine was kept at a low level over the last two weeks.”
Now, however, “We’re back up. Every week going forward in June to a minimum of 10,000 doses of Pfizer, and on top of that we’re getting extra Moderna, and on top of tha,t our pharmacy and primary care partners will get additional vaccines so we’re in a very good position going forward,” Moore said.
“And we’ll be opening the bookings as the provincial system allows us to ensure that people at least can get their booked appointment. We’re aware that pharmacies, not only are getting AstraZeneca, but they’re also getting Pfizer and Madonna vaccine so they will be communicating that to the public as well. And that’s roughly 4000 doses. So, for the last several weeks we were at a fine plateau. And now we’re going even higher in the amount of vaccine that’s available to us, which I just think is brilliant.”
“So stay tuned,” he advised, “You can check our website. You can also go to www.ygkvax.com, which our pharmacy partners are using as their means of allowing the public to know what vaccine is available at what pharmacy within KFL&A. And kflaph.ca is the website you can go in to book your clinic that’s nearest to your location within KFL&A.”
“Our case count, generally, over the last several days has been coming down after peaking roughly two weeks ago,” Moore concluded, “So, I have to thank the community for coming forward, getting tested for isolating when you have had the illness, those that have quarantined, all those that have been immunized. This strategy is working locally, and we’re getting back to being a much safer place than we were just a few weeks ago.”