KFL&A Public Health region moves to Yellow Community Status for COVID-19

KFL&A Public Health Head office. Kingstonist file photo

Update (Friday, Dec. 11, 2020): Today, the provincial government announced which regions would be changing levels within the Provincial Framework for COVID-19 response. Kingston, Frontenac, Lennox and Addington (KFL&A) Public Health region will remain in the Yellow level. The neighbouring region of Leeds, Grenville and Lanark (LGL), where two outbreaks were recently declared, is moving from the Green to Yellow Level. Details on what those levels mean below.

Update (Friday, Nov. 27, 2020): According to the provincial government, the Kingston, Frontenac, Lennox & Addington (KFL&A) Public Health region will remain in the Yellow level of the Provincial Framework for COVID-19 Response for another week. The Province will continue to announce which regions are moving into which levels every Friday, to be effective the following Monday.

Original article:

The provincial government announced on Friday, Nov. 20, 2020 that the Kingston, Frontenac, Lennox & Addington (KFL&A) Public Health region will move into the Yellow level of the provincial framework for COVID-19 response.

These strengthened public health measures will come into effect on Monday, Nov. 23 at 12:01 a.m. Some of the new measures include:

  • Events and social gatherings (for example, barbeques): limited to 10 people indoors and 25 people outdoors
  • Organized public events and gatherings: limited to 50 people indoors and 100 people outdoors
  • Religious services, weddings and funerals: 30 per cent capacity indoors, 100 people outdoors
  • Physical distancing must be maintained
  • Non-essential travel from areas of high-transmission to areas of low transmission should be avoided.
  • Liquor sold or served only between 9 a.m. to 11 p.m.
  • No consumption of liquor permitted in bars and restaurants between 12 a.m. to 9 a.m.
  • Bars and restaurants must gather contact information for all seated patrons
  • Limit of 6 people may be seated together in restaurants and bars

The full list of restrictions as they apply to different business and activities can be found here.

Dr. Moore: We’re not out of the woods

KFL&A’s Medical Officer of Health Dr. Kieran Moore explained that the province will likely hold the region at the Yellow level for “at least one incubation period” of COVID-19, or roughly two weeks.

The change comes at a time when Kingston is experiencing an uptick in the number of confirmed active COVID-19 cases.

“Earlier this week, case counts in our region went to an all-time high of 36 active cases,” Dr. Moore said. He noted that the data from recent days already suggests that this week’s surge has come under control.

“The news has been good the last few days, we think that we’ve got some control on this recent local transmission,” he said. Dr. Moore noted that Public Health has gone from monitoring over 300 high-risk close contacts to 200 through the week.

“The next weeks will be critical for us as we monitor the data. We’re not out of the woods for another ten days or so,” he said.

Risk levels vary across Ontario

Kingston will be one of nine public health regions in Ontario in the Yellow level of COVID-19 restriction next week, the second of five levels of public health measures. The Province also announced on Friday, Nov. 20, 2020 that Toronto and Peel Public Health regions will move into the highest, Lockdown Level.

Dr. Moore encouraged Kingston residents to “hunker down” and avoid travel outside of the KFL&A Public Health region.

“Any of the major outbreaks in our area have been secondary to travel to the GTA or the other high-risk municipalities,” he said. “The risk correlates to going into high-risk areas and the number of close contacts.”

Dr. Moore said the region has done very well overall, thanking front-line workers and people who have gone for testing.

“I’m sure we can continue to do this, and control this recent rise in cases. We’re just emphasizing the basic strategies,” he said. He recommended people limit interactions outside of their homes, stay home if sick, avoid travel outside the region, practice good hand hygiene and masking, and keep a small social circle limited to their household.

“It’s our goal to not move to orange, or red, or lockdown. It’s our goal to move from yellow back to green,” he said.

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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