The Kingston, Ont., area has repeatedly pulverized local pandemic records since the start of last week and most of its cases from this past weekend are suspected to be the omicron variant.
The region has the most confirmed COVID-19 cases per capita in Ontario — by far, if you look at its science table’s numbers — and has had several pandemic rules rolled back, including strict gathering and restaurant rules for the City of Kingston.
According to Dr. Gerald Evans from Queen’s University, and supported by the science table, a similar surge could be coming for the rest of the province due to the speed at which omicron spreads.
Here’s how the pandemic has worsened for Kingston, Frontenac and Lennox & Addington Public Health. The figures below rely on their daily updates.
The Kingston area mostly reported fewer than 10 new COVID-19 cases each day in October, but that trend seemed to turn just days before Halloween when it reported 26 more cases. At that point, the region had a total of 1,904 confirmed cases.
Since that time, numbers have jumped. The old daily case record of 29, reported on May 3, 2021, is now merely the 24th highest daily report.
The new record is 158, reported this past Saturday, and its five highest daily reports all come from the past week.
The region now has 3,630 confirmed cases — almost double that total from late October — and that number is rising.
The depths of the third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic set a record of known active cases in the Kingston area health unit with 150 on April 15.
That record fell on Nov. 10 when the unit reported 154 known active cases. By Nov. 28, that number more than doubled to 312, and then doubled again to 653 last Friday, Dec. 10.
The 908 known active cases as of Monday’s update — a new record — are more than six times that April 2021 benchmark, and the number makes up more than one-third of all active cases in the wider area of eastern Ontario and western Quebec, despite having less than 10 per cent of the population.
The weekly incidence rate, a rolling seven-day average of new COVID-19 cases expressed per 100,000 residents, is one of the best ways to compare COVID-19 cases across health units.
When Ontario relied on its colour-coded pandemic scale earlier in the year, before vaccines were widely available, an incidence rate of 40 was the threshold to consider fairly strict red zone rules.
The Kingston area sat at 350.3 on Monday, a number that has more than tripled in a week. Since November 2020, Ottawa’s highest incidence rate has been 222.4.
Before this surge in cases, the Kingston area never had more than four local residents in hospital with COVID-19. As of Monday, there are 35. The area never had more than three COVID patients in intensive care at one time, but now there are 15.
No other local health authority has more than 10 COVID-19 hospitalizations or six ICU patients as of Monday.
The Kingston area has also broken records for local COVID-19 outbreaks.
On Monday, the area reported 37 outbreaks that led to 253 confirmed cases — almost three times the number of cases linked to outbreaks from one week earlier.
A food and beverage services outbreak is notable because it is linked to 57 cases, 50 of them active.