27 confirmed COVID-19 cases now linked to Kingston, Ont., nail salon

The health unit in the Kingston, Ont., area is confirming more COVID-19 cases tied to a nail salon in the eastern Ontario city, but there's no sign it's gone further.

No sign the outbreak has spread to other regions, says medical officer of health

Binh's Nail and Spa at 500 Gardiners Rd. in Kingston, Ont., has been closed because of the outbreak. (Jacques Corriveau/CBC)

The health unit in the Kingston, Ont., area is confirming more COVID-19 cases tied to a nail salon in the eastern Ontario city, but there's no sign it's gone further.

Kieran Moore, the medical officer of health for Kingston, Frontenac and Lennox & Addington Public Health, said Monday the number of cases linked to Binh's Nail and Spa at 500 Gardiners Rd. is up to 27 people.

Six of them are staff, six are clients and the rest are their close contacts.

One of those close contacts works at a different salon in the city, Kingdom Nails & Spa, which has closed voluntarily. Anyone who went there on June 17 or June 21 to 25 is asked to get tested.

None of the 27 people has been hospitalized. 

Kingston had 63 confirmed cases before this, including just two in May.

WATCH | Kingston Mayor Bryan Paterson gives an update:

Number of COVID-19 cases in Kingston expected to keep rising after nail salon outbreak

3 years ago
Duration 6:13
Bryan Paterson, mayor of Kingston, says the city has undertaken an aggressive testing campaign to find COVID-19 cases linked to an outbreak at a local salon.

Masks are mandatory in the Kingston area for many indoor public locations. Moore said anyone who sees someone inside a business who isn't wearing a mask should leave.

Calls for people who had been to the salon to get tested and concerns from others about the uptick led to long lines and waits for tests over the weekend.

More than 3,000 people have gone to get tested since last Monday, Moore said, adding that widespread testing, quick contact tracing and following mask and hygiene recommendations will be key to stopping this outbreak over the next two weeks.

Testing and contact tracing haven't turned up anyone from other health units linked to this case, he said Monday, noting that no other health unit's work had turned up linked cases either. 

Questions about timing

Inspectors found that some customers at Binh's were not wearing masks, the space was not set up to properly distance and best hygiene practices were not being followed.

Moore said in retrospect, personal services such as nail salons may not have needed to open along with other businesses on June 12.

"I don't think we reopened too early; I just don't think all businesses followed the best practices," he said on Metro Morning.

"We were in a bit of a bubble, that bubble has burst, and now we have to maintain good hand hygiene [and] good mask-wearing ... 500 people off work for two weeks bothers me tremendously because it could have been prevented. We will learn from this."

WATCH | Managing risk at personal care businesses:

‘Personal care services are the new canary in the coal mine’

3 years ago
Duration 0:27
Colin Furness, infection control epidemiologist at the University of Toronto, says workers who are in close contact with clients, including salon employees and tattoo artists, are at higher risk of contracting and spreading COVID-19 as the economy reopens.

The health unit said Sunday in an email that more confirmed cases linked to local nail salons would mean it would order every nail salon under its jurisdiction to close.

Moore said Monday that decision would be made by the end of the week.

Kieran Moore, the medical officer of health for the Kingston, Ont., area, in a YouTube video about the outbreak late last week. (KFL&A Public Health/YouTube)

Kingston's test centre has moved to the Leon's Centre near the waterfront, home to the Kingston Frontenacs junior hockey team.

That test site will be closed on Canada Day, but there will be a drive-thru test site at St. Lawrence College again on Wednesday. Nearly 600 people got swabbed at one such site on Sunday, Moore said.


  • A previous version of this story referred to the different salon as Kingston Nails & Spa. In fact, the salon is called Kingdom Nails & Spa.
    Jun 30, 2020 11:36 AM ET

With files from CBC Radio's Metro Morning and Ontario Morning