Update (Friday, Apr. 23, 2021)
On Friday, Apr. 23, 2021, KFL&A Public Health informed the media that Dr. Moore was advised that there are no updates on vaccine allocations during a meeting between Public Health and the Ministry of Health on the afternoon of Thursday, Apr. 22, 2021. Public Health will provide an update on vaccine supply when more information becomes available.
With the current rate of positive COVID-19 tests standing at 0.85 per cent in KFL&A, the region’s case numbers are headed in the right direction, but that doesn’t mean the rest of April and the month of May will be any less dangerous than already cautioned.
These were some of the key takeaway messages as Dr. Kieran Moore, Medical Officer of Health for KFL&A Public Health provided a COVID-19 update to the local media on Thursday, Apr. 22, 2021. At that time, the number of COVID-19 cases per 100,000 people in the region was 27.2.
And, while Dr. Moore said these numbers are “great” and “trending in the right direction,” such is not the case in the rest of Ontario, and KFL&A is still not back to the Green ‘Overall Community Status’ zone that the region has historically maintained fairly consistently throughout the pandemic.
“Right now, we’re currently in that Orange zone in terms of percent of tests that are positive plus our rate of illness. But it’s trending in the right direction. And we continue to work very closely with people who have tested positive to trace their contacts and limit the spread in our community,” Moore said. “And thank everyone for all their efforts and sacrifices they’ve been making as we’ve been in lockdown.”
Moore reiterated that COVID-19 cases are currently distributed across the region, as he’d announced earlier in the week. And it’s for this reason that continued vigilance on the part of local residents remains necessary, he explained.
“The virus is everywhere in our region,” he said, noting cases have popped up in smaller and more rural communities throughout KFL&A such as Northbrook, Sharbot Lake, Enterprise, and Sydenham.
“You can never let your guard down against this virus, it wants to spread rapidly. So please, limit your travels, and stay within your household,” he continued, underlining the fact that, as people travel out of region, their risk for contracting the virus rises substantially.
For context, KFL&A’s 27 cases per 100,000 people and less than one per cent positivity rate means the region is faring far better than places like the Peel Region, where the rate of illness is currently 363 cases per 100,000 people, with the per cent of positive tests sitting around 13 per cent. In Toronto, the case count is 283 per 100,000 people, with 10 per cent of test results positive.
“So at least 10 times higher risk as you leave our region, especially if you go to GTA or Ottawa. But even just leaving KFL&A to go to Hastings and/or East Grenville, your risk goes up,” Moore said. “So please, stay home, stay safe, save lives, stay in your household, and we’ll continue to trend in the right direction in KFL&A.”
Patient transfers into KFL&A
With the growing surge of COVID-19 patients being transferred into KFL&A, Moore took a few moments to address that situation. He explained that our region has an integral role to play as Ontario battles the third wave of the pandemic.
“The hospitalizations in Ontario are trending in the wrong direction,” he said.
On Thursday, Apr. 22, 2021, 2350 people in Ontario had been admitted to hospital due to COVID-19, with over 800 people requiring critical care services, 40 deaths, and the number of people requiring ventilation in the ICU climbing to 588.
“So I have to really thank all of those acute care workers in carefully at Kingston Health Sciences Center, the nurses, the respiratory techs, the paramedics, physicians that are bringing patients from afar and providing care to them,” Moore said.
“This is a team Ontario approach, which is essential to try to limit the harms associated with COVID-19. And, I thank them for their dedication and service.”
He spoke briefly about the risks associated with transferring COVID-19 patients into the region.
“I don’t think it increases our community’s risk of exposure whatsoever,” Moore said confidently.
“I always worry about our healthcare workers. But they’ve been working through this for an entire year with great infection prevention and control leadership at the hospital, and have great skills now with masking and shielding,” he continued, adding that most patients that are transferred into KFL&A have already been intubated and ventilated, which can be a risky process due to the aerosolization of the virus during to procedure.
“Our nurses, our RTs, our hospital workers are well trained, all of them have received their first doses [of the vaccine] if they’ve wanted it. And certainly, when they when we’re moving to second doses, they’ll be the first to get their second doses, as well,” Moore said.
“So at a community level, I am not worried about the risk of treating patients in the hospital sector, in the intensive care unit, or on our COVID wards, and have great confidence in practices of our health care providers. They’ve been brilliant to date and we in KFL&A have not seen acute care outbreaks related to COVID. And I don’t anticipate that either.”
COVID-19 vaccinations in KFL&A
Although the number of vaccine does being delivered to KFL&A has decreased, this was something Dr. Moore cautioned would happen, and the number of doses coming to the region is expected to increase again. Moore said he would be attending a meeting with the Ministry of Health later the same day, and that Public Health “anticipates that amount of supply for KLA will continue to increase.”
Moore also said he expects the doses of vaccine available in KFL&A to continue to rise into June, when Public Health expects to move into second doses for area residents.
But there is some very good news in the uptake in vaccinations locally, Moore explained.
“Another milestone has been reached in that 75 per cent of those over 60 in our region have received their first dose of COVID-19 immunization. I think that’s tremendous! Thanks to everyone that’s been immunizing and all of our community members who have come forward to get protection through their first doses,” he said.
“We have 97 per cent of our over 80s, protected and 88 per cent of our 75 to 79 year old population, and over 82,000 immunizations have occurred.”
Public Health is expected to provide an update on vaccination supply for the KFL&A region on Friday, Apr. 23, 2021.