Depsite seeing COVID-19 cases dropping in the Kingston region, the province moved the Kingston, Frontenac, Lennox and Addington area into “yellow” under its COVID-19 response framework.
Moving from green (Prevent: standard measures) to yellow (Protect: strengthened measures) means enhanced targeted enforcement, fines and enhanced education to limit further transmission in the region, according to the province.
According to Dr. Kieran Moore, medical officer of health for the region, changes include limited hours of operation for certain settings, reduced recreation program sizes for recreation activities and requiring safety plans for certain organizations.
Under the yellow response framework, gathering limits remain the same, 10 people indoors and 25 people outdoors.
Restaurants and drinking establishments remain open, but they must close at midnight, stop serving liquor at 11 p.m., and obtain contact information for all people seated inside the establishment.
Sports and recreation facilities will continue to run, except they must increase spacing between weights, weight machines and exercise classes to three metres, require a reservation for entry and have a safety plan prepared.
For a full list of requirements, see the government of Ontario’s website.
Moore said that the region’s yellow status will take effect Monday, Nov. 23, and will last at a minimum two weeks, but could be in place for four weeks, depending on the region’s COVID-19 rates.
He also noted that over the last three days, indicators like percent positivity and cases per 100,000 have nearly dropped below the yellow status levels. KFL&A Public Health has only recorded two cases of COVID-19 since Wednesday, with no cases at all reported Friday. As of Friday, KFL&A Public Health is reporting 24 active cases of the virus.
“It’s our goal is to move from yellow back to green,” Moore said.
“Our community has been brilliant so far, but it’s up to all of us to adhere to the best practices, all of those prevention strategies, hunker down and not to travel outside the region.”
A recent uptick in cases was due, in part, to 15 cases being linked to 10 different fast-food restaurants in the region. Moore said we reached an all-time high of 38 active cases in the region last week, but over the last week, new cases have been decreasing while recoveries have increased.
Moore said public health was able to quickly assess how these cases propagated in local fast-food restaurants, mainly through close-setting lunch rooms and social gatherings outside of work.
He attributed the public health’s ability to quickly quell the growing number of cases locally to a “finely tuned” local health network, that includes local labs, assessment centres, hospitals, long-term care centres, school boards and of course, his own staff.
KFL&A’s announcement comes the same day as the province announced total lockdowns in the Toronto and Peel regions, shuttering businesses such as salons and gyms and moving restaurants to takeout only and malls to curbside pickup
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