All current known active cases of COVID-19 in the Kingston, Frontenac, Lennox and Addington (KFL&A) region are connected to the outbreak within Kingston Health Sciences Centre (KHSC).
According to Dr. Hugh Guan, Associate Medical Officer of Health for KFL&A Public Health, all nine of the current COVID-19 cases locally can be traced back to the KHSC outbreak at its Kingston General Hospital (KGH) site on the Davies 5 unit. That outbreak, which was declared on Monday, Jul. 5, 2021, has been confirmed to involve the Alpha variant, the COVID-19 variant first detected in Great Britain, and previously referred to as the B.1.1.7 variant.
“All the active cases that I know right now, I believe, are outbreak related. And as a result, because we know that outbreak… all the cases are Alpha or are presumed to be outflows,” Dr. Guan said during his weekly COVID-19 update for the media in KFL&A on Thursday, Jul. 15, 2021. He noted that the complete genome sequencing required to confirm all of the current cases involve the Alpha variant will take a few weeks, however, “based off the screening, it does seem to be all Alpha.”
Currently, that outbreak has stretched to 17 cases primary cases in total, a combination of staff and patients, with four secondary cases in household members of the primary cases, Guan explained.
“The outbreak right now… we haven’t seen an explosive spread. In terms of new cases from this, we’re continuing to monitor it closely with Kingston Health Sciences Centre, but I am, using the words again, ‘cautiously optimistic’ that it does seem to be mostly contained. We haven’t seen continuous uprise in terms of new cases from KHSC outbreak,” he said.
Having said that, Guan also confirmed that the two most recent COVID-19 deaths in KFL&A – a 90-year-old male on Friday, Jul. 9, 2021, and another 90-year-old male on Monday, Jul. 12, 2021 – were both cases related to the outbreak, and therefore both cases involving the Alpha variant.
“The deaths were, unfortunately, associated with the outbreak itself,” Guan expressed. “So, it really, again, speaks to the fact that we really need vaccinations as high as possible, that outbreaks from occurring visits still affecting those who are most vulnerable in our in our population.”
On the vaccination front, Guan shared some good news for the region. While the uptake on first doses of vaccines is starting to wane – largely due to the fact almost 80 per cent of individuals 12 and over in KFL&A have received the first dose – there continues to be strong uptake on second doses.
“At least 60 per cent of those 12 and over are fully vaccinated now… Second doses are still continuing forwards, and we are continuing to see lot of folks for their second doses,” he said. “For over the next two weeks, we’ll also have increased COVID vaccine supply, enough to get actually over 80 per cent of our population both first and second doses dose within the next two weeks.”
That means, Guan reiterated, he believes there will be enough Pfizer and Moderna supply over the coming two weeks for anyone to be able to get their first or second dose. He noted that KFL&A Public Health will be moving away from the mass vaccination clinic model in the near future, as well.
“It’s really right now about making that final push that final stretch to getting as many folks in your eyes as possible,” he said. “So please ask your family or friends or acquaintances to folks need help, please help them in finding appointments or booking them or getting them in whatever way to a vaccination center get a vaccine.”