Update on local COVID-19 outbreak from KFL&A Public Health

Dr. Kieran Moore, Medical Officer of Health for Kingston, Frontenac, Lennox and Addington (KFL&A) Public Health.

Dr. Kieran Moore, Medical Officer of Health at KFL&A Public Health shared details, as of 8:48 a.m. this morning, Friday, June 26th, on cases now in the community stemming from the Binh’s Nail and Spa outbreak.

The health unit is keeping the community aware of events as they unfold, regarding yesterday’s news of an outbreak sourced at Binh’s Nail and Spa.

Six workers at Binh’s Nail and Spa have tested positive for the Coronavirus, and one partner of one of those individuals.

The first cases noted from this outbreak were a mother and child, and a worker at Rustic Spud, a local restaurant in Kingston. As of this morning, another worker at Rustic Spud has tested positive. This brings the current total to 18 positive cases linked to this outbreak.

“We’re seeing transmission outside of the initial contacts to spouses and to partners, and this is typically happening every three to five days,” Dr Moore stated. “This has most likely been going on for roughly a week in our community. Some of these individuals were workers in healthcare settings, correctional facilities, and hence the risk to the community was very high. This could have spread out into vulnerable populations.”

“I am glad, at present, that everyone now is aware of the risk to our community.”

Over 500 people had gone to the salon since its opening on Friday, Jun. 12, 2020. Those 500 people have been asked to quarantine themselves, and to self-monitor for symptoms for 14 days beginning on the day they visited the facility on Gardiners Road.

The health unit has contacted everyone who has tested positive. If you have not yet received a call, it could be either because the health unit has not received your test, or you tested negative for the virus. Investigations will be unfolding for everyone who has tested positive. Moore mentioned that a correctional officer has tested positive for COVID-19 in a video released this morning. Kingstonist has reached out to the Correctional Service of Canada (CSC) to confirm this and find out more details, however, CSC had not responded at time of publication. Kingstonist will update this article as more information becomes available.

On average right now, each case has had 10 other contacts. Although 500 people had visited and gotten services at the salon over the last two weeks, there are now 180 additional people being monitored in the community.

“This is one example of how COVID-19 can try to sneak into our community,” Dr Moore explained. “If it had not been caught early, it would have propagated into our vulnerable care settings. From one setting alone we’re now following 680 people.”

Dr. Moore shares lessons we should learn from this:

  • Whenever you’re going into a personal service setting, you should be masked.
  • You should ensure the person providing the service is masked.
  • If a worker touches their mask they must wash their hands immediately, before they touch your body, your nails, or your hair. You should see that wash occur for 20 seconds.

For these type of settings:

  • There should be scheduled visits.
  • The visits should be documented with a contact number or email to ensure that if an outbreak occurs we are able to contact patrons and warn of the risk of COVID-19.

“This is not unexpected, as the economy opens, that this can occur, and I’m just happy that this was caught early,” Dr Moore continued. “It really tells us, as a community, that we have to adhere to the best practices. Our website kflaph.ca has excellent resources for all businesses. We have an audit tool. I suggest every business today review that audit tool, [and] apply it to their setting. I suggest to everyone in the community, if you’re going to any personal service setting, that you wear a mask.”

With 680 people who have been instructed to be off work and in quarantine for 14 days, this outbreak is causing a significant economic impact in the Kingston community. Dr Moore noted that the health unit is considering additional directions that will provide protection and clarity to both individuals and to businesses. “Today our team is reviewing whether we’re mandating masking in public for everyone in our community. Due to the economic impact of this we don’t want setbacks. We want our businesses to stay open. We want to support our businesses, but we want to do so safely so that this virus doesn’t spread.”

“We’re all in this together, businesses, community, the health sector and the key aspect of this virus, if we’re going to learn anything, is on prevention, prevention, prevention.”

None of the current COVID-19 cases have had to be in the hospital. If this had spread further, Dr. Moore notes that there would have been patients admitted to the hospital, and we could have had infectious disease spread within vulnerable settings.

Lessons have been learned — let’s try not to let it happen again. Research and apply best practices to your business, your family, and yourself, and we can help keep our community safe.

Jessica is a freelance writer with a startup Copywriting business. She loves raising her family here in Kingston and tries to attend the amazing events around town. You can find more of her writing on her blog A Modern Mom’s Life, and see what she gets up to with her family on FacebookTwitter and Instagram!

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