The Kingston, Frontenac, Lennox & Addton Public Health Unit (KFL&A) is preventing gatherings amid a significant increase in COVID-19 cases in the area.
The medical officer, Dr. Piotr Oglaza, on Monday issued a Section 22 order to ban mass gatherings. It also places new restrictions on indoor dining and the sale of alcohol at certain hours.
“Incidents are increasing at a disturbing rate and it is clear that we must do more to protect our communities,” Oglaza said in a press release. “We are enacting this class order and asking everyone to abide by these social gathering limits.”
The order goes into effect at 6:00 p.m. Monday and will remain in place until 11:59 a.m. next Monday, December 20.
Under this order, residents of the KFL&A area are prohibited from holding or attending indoor or outdoor social gatherings or public events held with more than five people.
Businesses that provide food and beverages must also adhere to the following rules:
Closed to the public for indoor dining from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. Pick up and take out allowed.
No alcohol is sold or served except from 12pm to 9pm. No alcohol is allowed at the property or place between 10 p.m. and 12 p.m.
Ensure all patrons are seated when served. Receive and take out are exempt from this requirement.
Seat no more than four (4) people at a table.
No dancing, singing, or live musical performances are allowed. The music volume is low enough for normal conversation.
“We have come this far, and as we provide increasing immunity to our communities through vaccination, we must all stay vigilant and keep our communities safe. We all have a responsibility to follow public health measures — monitor for symptoms, stay home when sick, reduce social contact and avoid social gatherings,” said Oglaza.
Failure to comply with these new restrictions could result in fines of up to $5,000 for each day or part of the day that the violation occurs or continues.
The medical unit announced Monday afternoon that the region has 908 active COVID-19 cases, up from 618 cases on Friday. The region has recorded 350.3 new cases per 100,000 inhabitants in the past seven days. By comparison, Ottawa has seen 56.4 cases per 100,000 population over the past seven days, while Toronto’s weekly incidence rate is 29.5 per 100,000.
Oglaza told reporters Monday during a press conference that KFL&A Public Health has identified 263 suspected cases of the Omicron variant, which must be confirmed through genetic testing. Oglaza says Omicron will soon become the dominant bacterial strain in the region.
He said the most important thing anyone can do is get a booster shot of the COVID-19 vaccine if they qualify. Oglaza added that the new restrictions are intended to help break the chain of infection in the region.
“I have introduced measures in Kingston to address specific types of risk and contagion in order to better control the local situation,” he said. “Whether these measures are appropriate or applicable to the rest of the province, it is impossible to say right now. These are measures aimed at balancing mitigating that risk with the need to preserve the protected areas.” We may not have a serious need for closures at this time, but we certainly need some very specific measures to reduce them. social interaction and minimize the risk of contagion.”
Last weekend, KFL&A Public Health issued new self-isolation guidelines.
Queen’s University has declared an outbreak of COVID-19 in the student community and canceled all in-person exams.
In Monday. St. Lawrence College said the end-of-term tests will move to an alternate form of delivery starting Tuesday, while smaller in-person lab tests will be conducted on campus as planned. . Campus buildings remain open with all applicable public health and safety measures in place, but campus entrance remains closed to the public.
The Limestone School Board announced Monday eight schools will transition to online learning due to staffing pressures due to COVID-19.
The following fields are affected:
Module de l’Acadie
Amherstview Public School
Stormrington Public School
Southview Public School
Bath . Public School
Polson Park Public School
Odessa . Public School
Molly Brant Elemetary School
With files from Newstalk 580 CFRA’s Zach McGibbon.