Friday, December 3

What’s Driving COVID-19 Cases in the Kingston Region? – Kingston | The Canadian News

With COVID-19 rates continuing to hit record highs in the KFL & A region, many wonder why cases have skyrocketed so dramatically in the area now, when vaccination rates are also high.

As of Wednesday, the health unit registered 234 active cases of the virus, the highest since the beginning of the pandemic. Two people died from the virus this week, a death rate never before seen locally.

Read more:

KFL & A Records Highest Active Daily COVID-19 Case Count, 1 New Death

Medical health officer Dr. Piotr Oglaza is not available to be interviewed on the matter until Friday, but spoke at length about the likely causes of the high case count in the region at a health board meeting on Wednesday.

Oglaza noted that KFL & A may now fall victim to its own previous successes in avoiding high transmission during the course of the pandemic.

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“When we had a significant spread to other Ontario jurisdictions during Wave 3, we were still relatively safe at that time,” Oglaza said.

Although Kingston would experience ups and downs in case counts, local hospitalizations and death toll remained low, so low that Kingston hospitals became a major point of entry for other regions struggling to keep up with patient care. intensive.

Less interaction with the virus among locals means less natural immunity.

Oglaza said that although vaccination rates are high at KFL & A, there are still around 43,000 people unvaccinated. So far, more than 87 percent of those over 12 years old receive double doses, but this number only represents those eligible to get vaccinated, which is equivalent to about 165,000 people.


Click to Play Video: 'Active COVID-19 Cases Hit Unprecedented Levels at KFL & A'



Active COVID-19 Cases Hit Record Highs at KFL & A


Active COVID-19 Cases Hit Record Highs at KFL & A

“Because we were still relatively safe during all the previous waves, the vast majority of those 43,000 people who are not yet immunized would never have come into contact with the virus, and that is now the population from which this fourth wave is derived. “, said. said.

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Oglaza said natural immunity is not as effective as immunity to vaccines, but the lack of that extra protection may be affecting how the virus spreads within the unvaccinated population in the Kingston area.

Other factors that may be contributing to the additional spread during Kingston’s fourth wave, compared to the third, may be the lack of restrictions currently in place.

“During the third wave, most of the province remained in lockdown mode. There was a state of emergency, ”he said.

Currently, the vast majority of the vaccinated population is interacting with more than 40,000 unvaccinated people, which could be contributing to the recent spread.

Read more:

Teen COVID-19 Vaccination Mandate Implemented for KFL & A Indoor Sports

Coun. Mary Rita Holland, who sits on the board of health, asked the medical health officer if additional restrictions should be put in place if Kingston has the unique situation of having a less natural immunity.

Oglaza agreed, but said that finding the kinds of restrictions that will be beneficial could be challenging.

So far, most of the spread has been found in private settings, primarily single-individual homes. About 50% of local cases are transmitted through close contacts.

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With children 11 years and younger not vaccinated, cases have increased among that population, as have school outbreaks.

Just this week, the health unit implemented additional measures targeting school-age children, including an expanded list of symptoms for school screening and a vaccination requirement for indoor sports for those 12 to 17 years old.

For those wondering why restrictions are not being put in place throughout the community to curb further spread, Oglaza said such measures would not necessarily be effective.

“When there is masking and there are measures in place, where they are currently doing screening, masking, vaccination testing, we don’t see significant spread from those settings,” he said.

He said his focus is now on how to reduce spread in private settings, rather than adding what he would see as ineffective capacity limits in places like restaurants, where transmission is low.


Click to play video: 'COVID-19 Spreading in Kingston Community with No Known Exposure - Health Unit'



COVID-19 Spreads in Kingston Community with No Known Exposure – Health Unit


COVID-19 Spreads in Kingston Community with No Known Exposure: Health Unit – Nov 16, 2021

You would not be getting to the root of the problem, which spreads in environments that are not regulated. So that’s really the avenue we’ll be moving on, ”he said.

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The advantage is, for Oglaza, that measures such as vaccination certificates and masking work. What remains is how to address the spread within homes, especially with the holidays on the horizon.

He said meeting up over the holidays will be a risk, especially for those with pre-existing conditions.


Click to Play Video: 'Parents Experience Frustration and Failure When COVID-19 Vaccination Stocks Are Available for Children'



Parents Experience Frustration and Failure When COVID-19 Vaccination Stocks Are Available for Children


Parents Experience Frustration and Failure When COVID-19 Vaccination Stocks Are Available for Children

“Unfortunately, even if they are vaccinated, some people may not fully benefit from the vaccine based on their other health, and they should be very careful at this time of year,” he said.

The medical health officer presented case rate data among the vaccinated and unvaccinated in Ontario between Sept. 30 and Oct. 29.

He noted that even with 11 million people vaccinated in Ontario, about 3.3 million people remain unvaccinated. When it comes to hospitalizations, ICU admissions and deaths, those who are not vaccinated are, for the most part, much more affected than those who receive their vaccinations.

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But Oglaza noted that for those over 80 who have significant health problems, even vaccines cannot necessarily prevent death from COVID-19.

“Even if they are fully vaccinated, if they get sick, if they are hospitalized, they may not make it. And that is really the sad reality of any type of infection pathogen and the limitation of what we can achieve with the vaccine in very fragile individuals, ”he said.

KFL and a public health

With those warnings in hand, Oglaza asked the community to be more vigilant as the holidays approach. Still, he didn’t mention any other restrictions that may go into effect locally during the call.

Rather, he advocated for vaccinations for anyone who might be eligible, especially for the recently approved five to 11-year-old age group.

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