KFLA’s recent spike in COVID-19 cases has been found mostly in people who haven’t had two shots of vaccine.
KFLA Public Health’s interim medical officer of health Dr. Hugh Guan noted of the region’s 20 active cases (as of Thursday), most shared a common trait.
“The vast majority of our recent cases have been in unvaccinated or partially vaccinated folks,” said Guan. “It just reinforces the fact that the vaccines work and to please do get vaccinated. What we’ve been seeing is that almost all the new cases have either been in unvaccinated or partially vaccinated individuals.”
Guan’s message wasn’t all that different from that of his former colleague turned Ontario chief medical officer Dr. Kieran Moore, who noted a similar trend at the provincial level on Wednesday. Across Ontario some 83 per cent of new COVID-19 cases were detected in people who weren’t fully vaccinated.
“We’re in the final stretch,” said Guan, speaking to local reporters via Skype. “We can’t let our guard down as we continue to get cases in those that aren’t vaccinated or partially vaccinated. It really stresses the fact to please do get vaccinated with at least one dose, best to get both doses of the COVID vaccine.”
On Sunday the KFLA region saw its fourth COVID-19 related death, the latest in a man in his 70s who has been in hospital.
“It just really points to the fact that COVID is still affecting our community and still creating illness as well as death,” said Guan. “The converse side of that is to please do get vaccinated. Even one dose will be helpful in preventing serious disease and death.”
On Thursday the local health unit reported three new COVID-19 cases to bring the active case count up to 20, most of which stemming from an outbreak at Kingston Health Sciences Centre. Fourteen primary cases are linked to that outbreak with about three more tied to secondary transmission. The strand responsible for the latest outbreak is suspected to be the Alpha variant, though more testing is required to make a final confirmation.
Guan also reported KFLA has had its fourth confirmed Delta variant case, though it has since been resolved.
Guan encouraged people with symptoms to continue to get tested.
In order to ramp up vaccine rollout, particularly among those who are still yet to receive one shot, the region has introduced walk-in clinics at Napanee’s Strathcona Paper Centre and Kingston’s Invista Centre.
“Especially for those who still need their first doses, for those who are 18 and above both the Strathcona Paper Centre as well as Invista are open to walk-in throughout the day to anyone who still needs their first dose,” said Guan.
For those looking for a second dose, the Invista Centre accepts walk-ins between 3:30-4:30 p.m. Because the Moderna vaccine is being offered at the walk-in clinics, individuals must be 18 or older.
There’s also the option to register to get on a stand by list at www.kflaph.ca/vaccine. Those needing a first shot will be given priority on the stand by list. Pop up clinics will also continue to be held throughout the region and will be listed on KFLA Public Health’s website and social media.
Nearly half of KFLA’s population age 12 and older-49.7 per cent to exact-has received at least one dose.
In light of the large gathering that was hosted by Queen’s University students over the weekend, Guan reminded residents that there’s still a large risk for such gatherings no matter how many vaccines a person has received.
“Right now we’re not out of the woods yet,” he said. “Our immunization rates are still climbing. Although people do have two doses, people may not be considered fully immunized in the sense of have they been 14 days post first or second dose. I’ve been hearing people say I just got my first dose and I’m immunized now, I’m fine to do whatever I want. That’s not really the case. We need a bit of time between the immunization and the time for when immunity rises. It’s also a sense of pure numbers. With every individual at the gathering there’s an increased chance that someone may have COVID, especially if folks are unvaccinated but even if folks are vaccinated or partially vaccinated, there’s always a chance. Nothing is 100 per cent. We do know the vaccines are very good, but there’s always a chance that someone may not be immune and carry COVID.”
Guan added that though some fully vaccinated people have still tested positive, their symptoms have been less severe than those without any vaccination.