Kingston urged to stay 'vigilant' after 1st COVID-19 cases since May

Public health officials in Kingston, Ont., are warning of an outbreak of COVID-19 at a west-end salon, and are asking anyone who's been there to get tested and self-isolate.

Clients of west-end nail salon told to get tested, self-isolate after outbreak

The public health unit in Kingston, Ont., is telling the salon's clients to get tested and self-isolate for 14 days, regardless of the results. (Nathan Denette/Canadian Press)

Public health officials in Kingston, Ont., are warning of an outbreak of COVID-19 at a west-end salon, and are asking anyone who's been there to get tested and self-isolate.

Kingston, Frontenac, Lennox & Addington Public Health said in a news release Thursday Binh's Nail and Spa at 500 Gardiners Rd. has been closed until further notice.

Anyone who visited the salon since it reopened June 12 is asked to get tested for COVID-19 at the Kingston Memorial Centre at 303 York St., which is open 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Thursday and Friday.

The health unit is also telling them to self-isolate until 14 days after their appointment date, regardless of the test results.

"The well-being of Binh's Nail and Spa customers and estheticians in the salon is our top priority along with ensuring adherence to proper sanitization and cleaning," Dr. Kieran Moore, the area's medical officer of health, said in the news release.

"At this time, the salon will be closed until it is safe to reopen."

Binhs's Nails and Spa in July 2018. (Google Street View)

The health unit did not say how many people from the salon have tested positive, but there have been 10 new confirmed COVID-19 cases in the Kingston area this week — the first confirmed cases in the region this month. The overall total now sits at 73.

Public health staff are working to follow up with close contacts of people linked to the outbreak.

New cases 'likely' during Stage 2

In a video posted to the health unit's YouTube page Wednesday, Moore said with the Kingston area now in Stage 2 of reopening, there would "most likely" be more COVID-19 cases in the coming weeks.

"It's important that this community is aware of this risk," Moore said. "And because this virus wants to come back into our community at any given moment, it's time for us all to remain vigilant."

Kingston Mayor Bryan Paterson said the nail salon may not have taken the "best precautions" to prevent COVID-19 from spreading, and the results should galvanize other local residents and businesses to take stronger measures.

"We need to make sure that we're continuing to physical distance and to do the handwashing and [obey] all the other guidelines public health has in place," Paterson told CBC News Thursday afternoon.

"We can't live in a bubble for the next year and a half."

Death a false positive

Moore also said Thursday that a COVID-19 death the province had flagged as occurring in the health unit's catchment area has turned out to be a false positive.

The person who died, a resident at a local long-term care home, had been in isolation for "many many weeks" and suffered from multiple illnesses, Moore said in another video posted to social media.

While the resident's first test showed a "weak positive," further testing from Public Health Ontario found no trace of the virus, Moore said.

"With that additional information, we're confident this person did not die of COVID-19 but died of their other medical illnesses," he said.

Had the person's death been due to COVID-19, it would have been the Kingston area's first confirmed death from the respiratory illness.

With files from Trevor Pritchard

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