New Variant of COVID-19 Detected in Ontario

Tuesday, 29 Dec, 2020

British Health Secretary Matt Hancock said that while "initial analysis suggests that this variant is growing faster than the existing variants", more testing needed to be conducted.

It's important to note that although the United Kingdom variant can spread faster, there's no indication that it's more deadly than other strains or that the Health Canada-approved vaccines will be less effective at preventing it, Henry and Dix added.

The Ontario government is reporting a third case in Ontario of the newer COVID-19 variant that was first identified in the UK.

"We are seeing more travel-related cases and transmission to household members when self-isolation measures are not strictly adhered to", Russell said, calling on people who need to self-isolate to do so for the full 14 days as per public health directives.

Clinical experts in Ontario say the discovery reinforces the need for Canadians to avoid unnecessary contact as much as possible and continue following public health guidance. "This is also an important reminder about the need for arriving worldwide travelers to maintain quarantine for 14 days". Dr. Zain Chagla, an infectious disease physician and associate professor of medicine at McMaster University in Hamilton, told CBC News Network's Natalie Kalata on Saturday that people should take the same precautions with this variant that they would for the original virus.

"It is important to note there is no evidence that the new COVID-19 variant is more likely to cause severe illness, nor is there evidence to suggest the Health Canada-approved vaccines will be any less effective against the new variant", they said.

"It really shouldn't change anyone's behaviour, even if it is more transmissible".

"The couple in Ontario have no history of travel, which could theoretically mean two things: one, either the variant has been introduced and now established itself in the community or two, by chance the dominant variant in Ontario developed similar mutations as (the new strain)", she explained.

Newfoundland and Labrador's Department of Health COVID-19 updates return later today.

British Columbia announced on Sunday that the country's fourth case is someone who recently flew from London to Vancouver.