KFL&A Public Health: how one COVID-19 case infected up to 20 people this week

Kingston’s Medical Officer of Health Dr. Kieran Moore in a YouTube video posted Friday, Nov. 27, 2020

The Kingston Frontenac Lennox & Addington (KFL&A) Public Health Unit has released a video detailing how a single case of COVID-19 was transmitted to up to 20 local individuals over the course of the past week.

“You can see now how from one individual…that there’s a cascade,” said Kingston’s Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Kieran Moore. “This is 15 to 20 proven COVID-positive individuals now with threats to schools, to the acute care sector, to the business sector, to home care services. All the result of one transmission.”

The case of COVID-19 was originally contracted when an individual had to travel to Toronto for work, Dr. Moore said, noting that he has changed a few details in the transmission description to protect the identities of those involved.

“He had to go into a closed space, crowded with individuals and close faces, and hence as a result was exposed to the virus and brought the virus home to family,” Dr. Moore said. “Many of the family members also got ill. People who came and visited the family and got ill.”

One of the family members then had to go to work, and while pre-symptomatic, also went to the gym. Dr. Moore did not identify the workplace or the fitness facility in the video, however KFL&A Public Health has indicated that whenever they suspect a risk to the general public, that information is shared.

“At work as a Personal Support Worker (PSW), there was incidental transmission to a patient, and from that patient to another PSW. When the person went to the gym, there appears to have been transmission at the gym to a healthcare worker,” he said. “That healthcare worker had exposure with another… so there’s an investigation at that workplace.”

Kingston Health Sciences Centre confirmed on Thursday, Nov. 26, 2020 that two employees at Kingston General Hospital had tested positive for COVID-19.

“One of the members of the gym went back to a different family. Everyone in that family was infected,” Dr. Moore continued. “That family has children that were school-aged so that’s another investigation to ensure that there’s no transmission in the school setting.”

Dr. Moore noted that this is just one example of several investigations underway by Public Health this week. The key lessons he said, are to be careful when travelling outside the region, to minimize the number of contacts and to go for testing if symptoms arise.

“Tremendous thanks to the community. We still continue to have a very high testing rate. We can’t do our work unless the community comes forward if they have symptoms to get tested, so that’s a big thanks. Our local lab is working very well, and our assessment centre,” he added.

Dr. Moore noted that anyone accepting visitors into their home from the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) should feel free to screen them for COVID-19 symptoms. The latest information on signs and symptoms of COVID-19 can be found at COVID-19.ontario.ca.

“The safest thing is not to travel,” he said. “Stay within your household setting, be very careful about the ‘Cs’ — crowded spaces and close faces.”

Samantha Butler-Hassan, Local Journalism Initiative

Samantha Butler-Hassan is a staff writer and life-long Kingston resident. She is a news junkie and mom who loves reading and exploring the community. This article has been made possible with the support of the Local Journalism Initiative.

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