Ontario investigates four possible cases of Omicron and provides test to 375 travelers


Toronto-Ontario is investigating four more possible cases of the Omicron COVID-19 mutant of concern, and the state’s top doctors further after the first two cases were confirmed over the weekend. He said many cases are likely to be detected.

Dr. Keeran Moore said two of the potential cases were in the Hamilton region of Ontario and two were in Ottawa. This is the first confirmed case in Canada, in addition to the two confirmed cases in Ottawa announced on Sunday.

“We have a very robust surveillance system, so it wouldn’t be surprising to find more in Ontario,” Moore said on Monday. Ontario is sequencing the genome on all positive COVID-19 tests, and Moore says it helps detect mutant cases.

New varieties that may be more contagious have prompted several countries, including Canada, to introduce travel restrictions. Travel bans have focused on countries in southern Africa where community expansion is known, but incidents have been discovered around the world ever since.

Health Doctor Kieran Moore said the two cases of the first subspecies in Canada who recently stayed in Nigeria were first tested for virus in Montreal when they arrived in Canada.

The public health sector also contacts and provides inspections to 375 returnees from countries that the federal government considers to be at high risk for variants.

People who have recently arrived in Canada from South Africa, Botswana, Lesotho, Eswatini, Mozambique, Namibia and Zimbabwe are subject to COVID-19 testing and are required to be quarantined. The federal government has also closed borders for visitors from these countries.

Moore said on Monday that he hopes to provide tests to all returning travelers, not just those from seven designated countries in southern Africa, and Ontario said on the idea. He said he was working with Ottawa.

He also said the state is considering a third COVID-19 vaccination strategy and other measures to better protect people from mutations, but will the strain make people sick? It is not yet clear whether or how effective it is. Vaccines are against it.

After slowly rolling back restrictions based on evidence of high immunization rates and immunization requirements in some settings, the state claimed to reintroduce public health measures only at the local level.

Some public health departments have already done so in light of rising case rates, and some settings in northern and southwestern Ontario have tightened capacity limits.

Moore said on Monday that the state would stick to that approach, which wasn’t the case on Monday, but may reconsider it if it turns out that a variant of Omicron is widespread. ..

Almost all cases in Ontario at this time are highly contagious delta variants. Moore said the focus should be on fighting the strain whose vaccine is known to be effective.

“We should continue to focus on the current threat of Delta,” he said.

NS Holly Mackenzie-Sutter

Canadian press