The number of cases of COVID-19 rising, both locally and across the province, “demands increased vigilance and continued efforts of all KFL&A residents to do their part to keep our region safe and open,” according Kingston, Frontenac, Lennox and Addington (KFL&A) Public Health.
On Wednesday, Nov. 18, 2020, KFL&A Public Health released information on the provincial government’s COVID-19 Response Framework: Keeping Ontario Safe and Open, which was released on Tuesday, Nov. 3. That document outlines an approach to reducing spread of infections, reducing social interactions, and limiting the harm to the economy and social life, Public Health said. Moving between the levels of the framework is now at the discretion of the province. Those levels are:
- Green (Prevent)
- Yellow (Protect)
- Orange (Restrict)
- Red (Control)
- Grey (Lockdown)
“The provincial government will review our local public health case count and community transmission information with each Medical Officer of Health across the province on a weekly basis,” said Dr. Kieran Moore, Medical Officer of Health for KFL&A Public Health. “Our area will be assigned a colour-coded classification that will either keep protective public health measures the same, tighten, or loosen the measures based on the level of cases and transmission rate in the area. Given the increasing COVID-19 activity locally, we anticipate the KFL&A region may be mandated to move from green (prevent) to yellow (protect) level very soon.”
KFL&A Public Health urges everyone in the region to do their part to prevent the spread of COVID-19 through the following steps:
- Limit in-person social interactions to people within your household. Minimize interactions with people who do not live in your house and one or two persons who are essential to maintaining physical and mental health (e.g., caregivers, social supports to someone who lives alone). This means you should avoid in-person social interactions with friends, with co-workers when not at work, and with extended family. When dining at restaurants, going to the movies, or partaking in other social activities, you should limit it to your household members.
- Stay home if you have any symptoms of illness, however mild. If symptoms are compatible with COVID-19, please get tested. While it is cold season now and many of us are used to mild infections at this time of year, a mild illness could be COVID-19 and may be much more severe for someone else who might catch it from us. By staying home if sick, we protect everyone else in our community.
- Limit travelling outside of the KFL&A region to only essential travel and visitors from outside of KFL&A should not be encouraged. This is especially applicable to and from areas with higher COVID-19 transmission rates.
- Individuals at risk of more severe disease or outcomes, including older adults, people of any age with chronic medical conditions, or people of any age who are immunocompromised please only leave your home for essential reasons.
- Be careful at work, especially amongst people you feel more comfortable with, keep 2 metres away from others and wear a face covering especially in the lunchroom when not actively eating and drinking, on breaks, and while working closely within teams.
- Continue practicing precautionary measures and behaviours such as hand hygiene, cough etiquette, staying home if feeling unwell, wearing a face covering where required and appropriate, and physical distancing.
“The past eight months have been very challenging. We have all adjusted our personal lives, and these measures ask more of us, more ways to temporarily adapt. However, our personal actions are the biggest determinant of COVID-19 spread and whether more provincially imposed restrictions will be necessary,” Dr. Moore said in the statement. “I believe, through our collective actions, we are well-positioned in KFL&A to be able to maintain low COVID-19 case counts, keeping our community safe, healthy, and open.”
Earlier in the week, Kingstonist spoke with Dr. Moore about both the need to protect the most vulnerable populations in the community, and the increased cases at local restaurants. Kingstonist anticipates another interview with the Medical Officer of Health before the end of the week. For the most up-to-date case count data, please follow our COVID-19 Quick Reference Guide, which is updated daily Monday through Friday, and on weekends during heightened COVID-19 activity in the region.