Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Third case of COVID-19 UK variant confirmed in Ontario

Provincial officials say a third case of the COVID-19 variant, first identified in the UK, has been confirmed in Ontario.

On Sunday, December 27, 2020 Dr. Barbara Yaffe, Ontario’s Associate Chief Medical Officer of Health, provided an update on the confirmed cases in Ontario of the COVID-19 variant.

This variant has now been detected in multiple countries beyond the UK, and with inbound international travel it is not unexpected to have identified the new variant in Ontario, Provincial officials say.

A third case of the COVID-19 UK Variant has been reported in an individual in Ottawa with recent travel from the UK.

The Ottawa Public Health Department has informed the individual who is now in self-isolation.

Case and contact management investigation is underway, Provincial officials say.

In addition, since the initial reporting of the first two cases of the variant on December 26, 2020, additional investigation and follow-up case and contact management has revealed that the couple had indeed been in contact with a recent traveller from the UK, which is new information not provided in earlier interviews.

The cases and contacts have been informed and are now in self-isolation as per public health protocols, Provincial officials say, adding it is critically important that individuals with confirmed cases of COVID-19 provide all history of contacts and contact information to their public health unit.

This is crucial to the prevention and control of this infection, Provincial officials added.

“This further reinforces the need for Ontarians to stay home as much as possible and continue to follow all public health advice, including the provincewide shutdown measures,” said Dr. Yaffe in a media release.

“This is also an important reminder about the need for arriving international travelers to maintain quarantine for 14 days.”

With the confirmation of three cases stemming from inbound international travel, the province continues to call on the federal government to urgently partner with Ontario to implement testing at Toronto Pearson International Airport and strengthen oversight of quarantine, Provincial officials say.

Regardless of whether federal support is forthcoming, the Ontario government is prepared to act on its own to implement an airport testing program.

The Ministry of Health continues to be in constant contact with the Public Health Agency of Canada and other jurisdictions to monitor the developing situation and ensure coordinated, effective and shared efforts to protect and safeguard the public.

Provincial officials say Canada has posted a travel ban on all flights arriving from the UK until January 6, 2021.

Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health strongly advises that travel out of the province should be limited to essential purposes only.

Ontario has imposed a provincewide shutdown which started December 26, 2020 at 12:01 a.m. to stop the spread of COVID-19.

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