Kingston, Frontenac, Lennox and Addington Public Health expanding COVID-19 testing

When it comes to the number of COVID-19 tests in the province, Premier Doug Ford expressed his desire for more in his press briefing yesterday.

“I’m pushing the table as hard as I can,” Ford said.

“Is it frustrating? It’s frustrating — believe me, it’s frustrating.”

Ford also wants to see who is being tested, as well.

“Let’s go to the trucking association that’s been begging to get tested,” Ford said. “Let’s go covering every Uber, every taxi driver, every limousine driver.”

When it comes to the volume of people being tested for COVID-19, Kingston, Frontenac, Lennox and Addington’s chief medical officer, Dr. Kieran Moore, says the region is meeting or exceeding the provincial average.

READ MORE: Travel outside of Kingston region greatest threat for COVID-19: Public health

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“We saw roughly 80 yesterday and swabbed the vast majority between our two sites,” Moore said.

Moore says the challenge in KFL&A is the region is a low-risk area.

Proving the point, the most recent positive case in KFL&A turned out to be in error.

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A young woman who tested positive this week and was attributed to living in the area doesn’t, says Dr. Moore.

“They live in Ottawa, they work in Ottawa, and they have permanently moved from KFL&A a number of months ago, so their exposure is clearly documented to be in Ottawa,” Moore said.

The area has been proactive in its testing as well, according to Moore.

He says Public Health launched long-term care testing of both staff and residents early on in the pandemic.

“We had around 3,500 tests done all of which were negative.”

READ MORE: 1 new case of coronavirus announced in Kingston region, total now 62

Moore says testing is being expanded to workers or professions at risk of exposure to the coronavirus.

Those tests will be for both symptomatic and asymptomatic workers according to Moore.

“In particular we would test on a regular basis health-care workers, paramedics, police, fire, long term care workers, correctional officers,” he said.

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Testing will be offered on a monthly basis to those professions.

Moore says the memos for that initiative are being distributed today.

Looking to the fall, Moore says they are building testing capacity to accommodate CFB Kingston members and students at Queen’s University, St. Lawrence College and Royal Military College.

“We know that the vast majority of leases have been signed in our student area around Queen’s University and St. Lawrence college.”

That testing capacity is intended to be for symptomatic and asymptomatic students as well.

The premier in his Thursday media conference also called for increased testing in industry like trucking,food manufacturing and workers that have frequent contact with the public like taxi drivers.

The chief medical officer says that process is underway and ongoing.

“We have been approached by various industry in our area and we’re very open. If they have an inability to physically distance or to mask appropriately that we would do enhanced testing with them.”

Moore points out some of the region’s largest employers are in the public sector, but says KFL&A Public Health is open to working with all sectors of the local economy.

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“Any other, food industry partners we’d be open to creating a strategy to monitor the health of their workers as well.”

KFL&A’s most recent case was reported on May 18 prior to that the last cases reported were on April 29.

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