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Public Health declares COVID-19 outbreak in Kingston’s University District

Hundreds of young people filled Breakwater Park along King Street on Thursday, Apr. 8, 2021 – the first day of the new Provincial stay-at-home orders,and the same day KFL&A Public Health declared an outbreak in the nearby University District. Photo by Logan Cadue.

On Thursday, Apr. 8, 2021, Dr. Kieran Moore, Medical Officer of Health for Kingston, Frontenac, Lennox and Addington (KFL&A) Public Health declared a COVID-19 outbreak within Kingston’s University District associated with Queen’s University.

The outbreak was declared among young adults aged 18 to 29 years of age, as they currently make up over 70 per cent of the active cases in KFL&A  region. In this age group in the City of Kingston’s University District, there are 70 active cases of COVID-19, Public Health relayed in a press release on the same date.

“KFL&A Public Health’s investigations have revealed transmission is occurring during close, unprotected contact between individuals in social settings (including large gatherings) where physical distancing is limited, and face coverings are not being worn,” the Health Unit said.

These cases are rising quickly as the result of COVID-19 variants, which are more easily transmitted in social settings, can cause greater severity of disease, and are impacting younger individuals. According to Public Health, risk of ICU admission is two times higher and the risk of death is 1.5 times higher in COVID-19 cases involving variants of concern.

“We are facing a critical time in the fight against this virus. We are putting all measures in place, including stronger enforcement of the provincial shutdown and stay-at-home restrictions to limit the spread of this outbreak,” Dr. Moore said in a statement. “Fines will be given if provincial restrictions are not adhered to—stay home, limit social interactions to those in your household, and avoid unnecessary trips outside your home.”

Meanwhile, at the exact same time, hundreds of young people crammed onto the beachfront park at Breakwater Park, which sits just across and down the road from Kingston General Hospital – the largest hospital in the region, which is currently dealing with 16 COVID-19 cases and a packed ICU.

Nonetheless, Moore underlined the urgency of the situation at hand.

“These are not normal circumstances with the highly contagious nature of COVID-19 variants, we urge young adults to act in a responsible and conscientious way to protect others in our community,” he said.

The following is a list of instructions provided by KFL&A Public Health during the current Emergency Brake and Stay-at-Home Orders:

  • Stay at home.
  • Limit close contact to your household (the people you live with).
  • Limit trips outside your home to necessities such as: getting food or medication, going to medical appointments, or enjoying exercise or walking pets.
  • Avoid social gatherings, visiting others, or having others visit you and stay overnight. 
  • If you have any symptoms of illness—stay home, isolate, and get tested early.
  • If someone in your household is symptomatic, they need to get tested and everyone else in the household must isolate until a negative test result is back.
  • Stay 2 metres apart from people you do not live with, and wear a mask or face covering in indoor public spaces or any time physical distancing is not possible.
  • Stay local and avoid non-essential travel outside of the KFL&A region.

For the most up-to-date information on COVID-19 locally, including links to resources and information on cases, closures, cancellations, and changes to services, visit our quick reference guide here.

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9 thoughts on “Public Health declares COVID-19 outbreak in Kingston’s University District

  • April 8, 2021 at 5:20 pm
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    For God’s sake young people – what do you not understand about this disease and that we are in a pandemic. Do you know what a pandemic is?? Why are you so irresponsible to others – and yourselves?
    Now the government is going to reward you by vaccinating your group first – before your parents, your aunts, your uncles – all because you WILL NOT FOLLOW DIRECTIONS!!!

    • April 9, 2021 at 12:04 pm
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      Yes,a very selfish group. Perhaps they need to be assigned to some essential services for their rehabilitation to a civil society that has responsibilities as well as rights.

  • April 8, 2021 at 5:28 pm
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    I think it’s time for them to go home. I have a lot of sympathy for that age group, but they just don’t seem to get it. Our system frankly cannot handle it.

  • April 8, 2021 at 6:32 pm
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    ugh!!!! and we are off and running yet again!!! If Queen’s Students were mature and community minded, Kingston would have an exceptionally low number of cases; instead we are closing in on 100 cases. We have one ICU filled and the other closing in on saturation- doesn’t matter where the patients are from in Ontario, it’s the way it works, they are here in Kingston. And there is a global shortage of the medication currently used to treat Covid-19. As usual, Queen’s wrings it’s collective hands; the City does nothing and the police do not enforce the rules. Yet businesses and restaurants are closed and we taxpayers have to endure another “shut down”. There is something radically wrong here. It makes no sense to bring in rules and impose a shut down and continuously not enforce it. It is ridiculous in the extreme. I have often wondered how many fines (the few that are levied) are actually paid??? wouldn’t that be a great piece of information to know?

  • April 9, 2021 at 9:35 am
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    I agree with the lack of enforcement of fines but my main anger is directed at the “leadership ” at Queens. Patrick Deane has been weak and largely absent from the issue, showing little care for the community. The only disciplinary action taken against irresponsible Queens students so far seems to be kicking a few badly behaved students out of residence, into our community. Why not take some meaningful action like kicking the students who are selfishly causing the problems out for the academic year?! Lousy leadership is being exploited by many selfish students and the community and health systems are under extreme pressure because of this.

  • April 9, 2021 at 1:31 pm
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    Since July 2020 I have been asking our leaders, the Mayor and the Queen’s Principal, to take action to prevent students from ignoring COVID safety protocols. These leaders have done virtually nothing. It has taken me almost a year to finally realized that they are afraid of the students. Why? Because the revenue that comes from students out trumps the health and safety of Kingston residents. This is not right.

  • April 10, 2021 at 9:16 am
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    If it WALKS LIKE A DUCK, TALKS LIKE A DUCK, LOOKS LIKE A DUCK…. THEN, IT MUST BE A DUCK. CLOSE THE UNIVERSITY AND SEND EVERYONE BACK WHERE THEY CAME FROM…

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