Public Health urges vigilance as winter approaches

Dr. T. Hugh Guan, Associate Medical Officer of Health for Kingston, Frontenac, Lennox and Addington Public Health (KFL&APH) started his online press update with a big “thank you” today. Guan congratulated the community for its continued efforts, and reminded everyone to keep their guards up and continue to follow protocols.

Dr. T. Hugh Guan, Associate Medical Officer of Health for Kingston, Frontenac, Lennox and Addington Public Health (KFL&APH), in a screenshot of the online press conference held Wednesday, Sept.29, 2021.

“Our seven-day average continues to either be stable or dropping. So, really, thank you to the community. Thank you to everyone in Ontario for truly flattening the curve in…our curve is pretty much flat in terms of not just cases, [but also] hospitalizations and ICU admissions. So thank you, everyone; to the community, to our partners, and to KFL&A volunteers and staff, for really flattening the curve across the province. We are very much saving our healthcare system,” said the doctor after running through today’s COVID Dashboard numbers for local and provincial cases.

A quick look at the numbers provincially as of Wednesday, Sep 29, 2021, shows that  86.1 per cent of Ontarians 12 and over have received the first dose and 80.7 percent have received two doses of COVID-19 vaccines. The KFL&A region, by comparison, “has had 87.3 per cent of those 12 and over having received one dose and 81.8 percent of those 12 and over having received two doses,” said Dr. Guan, “We continue to go at a pretty steady pace now. I think it’s been a lot greater than where it was about a month or two ago; our first dose increase is about anywhere from a 0.8 to 1 per cent per week, and our two-dose coverage is rising at about one to 1.2 per cent increase per week.”

He went on, “We’re a little bit above the Ontario average and we’re slowly but surely making our way to those 99  per cent vaccinated targets, and if we continue to go at this pace, we’ll definitely hit 90 per cent first dosed by probably by December, and two doses, hopefully shortly thereafter.”

Meanwhile, in terms of COVID case numbers, he said, “As of noon today, we have 11 new cases since yesterday’s update. We’re currently investigating where all these cases are from. Some of them may be outbreak-related so stay tuned for that news release if we discovered that some of these are outbreak-related.”

There is currently one outbreak declared at Loughborough Public School. Kingstonist will provide information on the second and third outbreak — in a school and long-term care facility,respectively — as soon as it becomes available.

“Yesterday we were sitting at 10.3 cases per 100,000 over a seven-day average. That will likely rise due to today’s 11 cases, probably a little under 15 cases per 100,000 over the last seven days,” Guan reported. “Person positivity [through testing] continues to still be good at about 0.56 to 1 per cent. So, again, our community is testing appropriately and we do not see crazy high test positivity rates which means that it does appear that we’re capturing all the cases in the community.”

Across Ontario, as of today, there were 495 new COVID cases and eight more deaths, according to the update. 

Guan reminded the public, “We’re just starting into fall and winter, so we’ll still need to have our guards up in terms of adhering to all of the good Public Health measures everyone has been doing, and hopefully we continue to keep our cases, as well as our hospitalizations, and ICU cases down.”

This brought him around to the subject of flu shots, which he said, “Are coming just around the corner.” 

“Please, please,” Guan emphasized, “get your flu shot this year, especially this year. Because we’re kind of rumbling along in our fourth wave, but there’s also more international travel, as well as travel across Canada this year. Therefore, there’s more likelihood of flu introduction, as well as transmission this year compared to even last year.”

“There is a greater risk of influenza coming,” he reiterated, “And protecting yourself, as well as your family, as well as your friends against influenza adds to flattening the curve, because being sick and being hospitalized and being in ICU because of a preventable disease like influenza strains our system.”

“Earlier this week we declared an outbreak at Loughborough Public School with two cases on September 26. We continue to monitor the situation, but, as of this morning, we believe that things are contained, things are controlled in terms of that outbreak, which is good news,” reported Guan.

“Another new piece of information is that we will be restarting some permanent clinics, so we will have a permanent clinic coming to the Cataraqui Center beginning October 7,” he said stating that the region is shifting away from outdoor and mobile clinics as the weather shifts to colder temperatures and that the team will “continue to work with our partners, including the family health teams as well as pharmacies in those areas to offer the vaccine to individuals.”

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