After reporting zero new cases of COVID-19 on Canada Day, Kingston, Frontenac and Lennox and Addington Public Health added three cases to its total on Thursday.
The additional cases bring the region to 33 total active cases, and 150 contacts of those cases who are actively being monitoring. More than 600 people have been asked to self-isolate as a result of the outbreak.
Dr. Kieran Moore, local medical officer of health, said that only one of the three new cases was linked to the recent outbreak at Binh’s Nail and Spa in the west end of Kingston. One was connected to Georgia Nail salon in Amherstview and the other was linked to a returning traveller from Europe, which Moore said public health believes to be an independent case.
As well, another individual who tested positive — but wasn’t a part of the three cases reported Thursday — had no exposure to Binh’s but has been in contact with individuals from the Greater Toronto Area. Public health is pursuing contact tracing on the matter.
“We’ll continue to investigate this new case, which we cannot find any association with the (Binh’s) outbreak in our community. … That investigation is still ongoing,” Moore said.
One person is currently in the intensive care unit at Kingston Health Sciences Centre receiving supplemental oxygen after testing positive, according to Moore, but is not intubated. The case was connected to the Binh’s Nail salon outbreak.
“I’m sure our community wants the best outcome with this individual and sends our best wishes to the family,” Moore said.
Moore said 746 people were tested on Canada Day, which solely operated at the temporary drive-through testing clinic at St. Lawrence College. Over the past two weeks, nearly 5,000 people have been tested.
Public health is still investigating where the outbreak at Binh’s salon started. Moore said there is still no conclusive evidence regarding how COVID-19 started spreading through the salon, maintaining the position that it’s most likely a result of community spread.
“That’s still a question. We’re fairly confident that the individuals who visited there didn’t bring it with them, and we’re now looking at the travel and contact history of the individual workers,” he said.
Kingston Police are currently investigating whether Binh’s Nail Salon was operating before the non-essential business shutdown was lifted on June 12.
In contacting every individual who’s required to self-isolate, Moore said many bring new information regarding possible areas of transmission every day.
“New information comes to light every day that we try to validate and verify every day … the first time someone’s interviewed, they may not have recalled every single event, so we accumulate more and more information all the time,” he said. “It is fluid; it is ongoing.”
While the number of cases in the region continues to slowly grow, Moore said the risk of infection remains low and that the community “must remain vigilant.”
“This recent second wave peaked, in our opinion, on June 25. … We have not seen it propagating heavily in our community,” he said.
Public health unit said that those who visited Georgia Nail salon between June 12 and 25 and have tested negative for the virus are required to self-isolate for 14 days.
“Given this evidence that exposure was more significant than we thought, we’re asking all those individuals to isolate themselves … our nurses will be back in contact with them to make sure they adhere to (the requirements),” Moore said.
Last week, all Binh’s clients — the nucleus of the initial outbreak — were required to get tested and self-isolate for 14 days.
Earlier this week, one employee of Georgia Nail salon tested positive for the virus and had been a contact of a worker from Binh’s. On Thursday, public health confirmed the employee had provided services to the public.
“The first employee at Georgia’s … there was a clear connection back to Binh’s. We’re not sure of the second employee at Georgia’s of their relation to Binh’s, but we know they must have had interactions with their (co-worker),” Moore said.
Public health hasn’t confirmed whether the second employee had provided service to the public.
On Tuesday, one case was linked to Amherstview Golf Club, but public health hasn’t had any further positive tests connected to the club. As such, it will remain open for the time being.
“If there’s any further exposure there, we may make (testing and isolation) a requirement, but at present, we always thought that risk was low given it was an outdoor environment, predominantly. Our investigation is ongoing with that situation,” Moore said.