Measures to limit COVID-19 are working says KFLA medical officer

Adam Prudhomme

Kingston, Frontenac and Lennox and Addington is flattening the curve.

As of Friday afternoon, the local health unit reports just one positive case of COVID-19 in the last seven days for a total of 55 total cases. Of those, 51 have been resolved, with no deaths and no one currently in hospital or on a ventilator.

All good news says Dr. Kieran Moore, medical officer of health with KFLA Public Health. But the battle’s not over yet, either.

“It takes a community to respond to COVID-19 and I think our community has pulled together really well,” said Moore. “We’ve had great relationships with Lennox and Addington, with warden (Marg) Isbester. We meet on a weekly basis, we’ve been sharing best practices. I went and visited Lennox and Addington County General Hospital and was so impressed by the processes that they’ve put in place. They’re one of the first places that I’m aware of that have drive-through testing.”

Speaking specifically of L&A County, Moore says the local hospital deserves a lot of credit for keeping the area’s numbers so low. Breaking down the numbers a little further, 11 of the 55 cases are residents from L&A County.

“LACGH had drive-through testing, had call ahead to protect the health care workers,” said Moore. “They could screen you in advance. They then set up their emergency department to have a cold site and a hot site. If you had any fever or respiratory illness, you would not be exposed to anyone else. You went to a direct unit that had all the personal protective equipment in place, that had all the expertise to assess you for the COVID-19 and they did this well in advance of any major hospital and had testing in place in parallel with us in Kingston. Hats off to all of the healthcare workers at the LACGH, in particular Dr. Kim Morrison (LACGH’s chief of staff) who has been a leader in helping them prepare and respond to this threat.” 

Beyond the hospital, he says the general public has played a role as well.

“By everyone doing their part, all of us are in a much better position as a community and clearly Lennox and Addington patients and community members have adhered to the social and physically distancing that’s been required and they’ve been testing at good rates in their population to ensure that this COVID doesn’t re-enter our community,” said Moore. “We’re well over what you could call our first wave of 55 individuals in our community. We haven’t seen ongoing propagation or spread of those 55 to date.”

Moore has also been pleased with the region’s long term care homes, who have done a great job at protecting those most at risk.

But that doesn’t mean it’s time to declare a total victory just yet, either.

“We are in a good place now only because everyone has done their part and we all must remember that we’re in this together and that we must continue to be vigilant, we must continue to do social and physical distancing that’s required to protect the vulnerable in our community. To date we’ve done well, but we can’t let our guard down,” said Moore. “They can look at what’s going on in the United States, they can look at issues in Toronto and the big cities. We have the benefit of being small and working together well and coordinating well. I think we’re the right size of community to really respond to this issue and it’s working well for us but all you have to do is look around you and see this virus can come back.”

As of Friday, the health unit shows 2,139 people have been tested, with 2.6 per cent of those showing positive for the virus.

“At the highest we reached it was around six per cent positive of the test and that was when we had that rapid rise of returning travellers and it had spread locally,” said Moore. “We have to remember a couple of weeks ago it was spreading locally. Through aggressive contact tracing, aggressive testing, we were able to identify those at risk and put, what I call small little fires, out. As a result, the more we tested, the per cent of positivity went down. If you look at many health units around us, the percentage of positivity test is 15 per cent, 16 per cent and climbing. To put it in perspective, we say we’re at an outbreak for influenza when the percentage of positive tests is over five per cent and sometimes it can reach 30 or 40 per cent of tests that are positive for influenza and then it starts to go down, and that usually takes three to four months for influenza to burn itself out of the community. For us to just reach a peak of six per cent and come rapidly down to 2.6 per cent today is remarkable.”

Moore is encouraging residents to keep up with physical distancing, washing hands and only making essential trips. 

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