At least four provinces across Canada have now reported cases of the new Omicron COVID-19 variant.
Very little is known about Omicron, the variant first reported by officials in South Africa and recently discovered in Canada, and it is not known where it originated from. Omicron has a large number of mutations and the World Health Organization (WHO) believes it is more transmissible and has already spread widely.
Ontario’s chief medical officer of health, Dr. Kieran Moore, said that while the province does not expect vaccines to lose 100% efficacy against the new variant, the 30 mutations in the protein Omicron tip are of concern. Spike proteins are the main antigen used to build immunity in all vaccine products.
The new variant is already present in many countries, including the United States, Portugal, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Hong Kong, Israel, South Africa, Botswana, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia , Germany, United Kingdom, Italy, Germany and the Netherlands. .
Omicron’s discovery quickly led to global travel bans as countries rush to slow the spread of the new COVID variant. Hong Kong has banned non-resident travelers from “high-risk” countries like Canada where the variant has been detected.
Here are the Canadian provinces that have reported cases of Omicron:
The province first reported a case on November 30, when a traveler returning from Nigeria and the Netherlands tested positive for the new Omicron variant. Alberta’s top doctor said the person was asymptomatic and in quarantine.
Data from the province’s public health units now shows the number of Omicron cases in Alberta has risen to three.
British Columbia (1)
British Columbia has reported that a person recently returned from Nigeria to British Columbia has the first case of the Omicron variant of COVID-19 in the province.
The province says the affected person is from the Fraser region and 204 people are in quarantine and being tested after recently returning from countries in the southern Africa region.
The first cases of Omicron in Canada were discovered in Ottawa on November 28. Two more cases were then reported by Ottawa Public Health. Ontario is also investigating two suspected COVID-19 cases in Hamilton for the new variant.
The new variant has already appeared in the GTA, with the Durham and Halton public health units each reporting a case. Toronto Public Health also confirmed its first three cases of the Omicron variant on Friday evening, all related to travel.
The Durham case has been linked to an employee who also works at the East Toronto Detention Center. As a result, the detention center has declared an epidemic and is closely monitoring four inmates who tested positive for COVID-19.
Toronto Public Health is also advising people who have recently visited a local cafe of potential exposure to a suspected case of the Omicron variant. An employee tested positive for COVID-19 and had recently traveled to South Africa.
York Region has its first positive case of the COVID-19 variant Omicron. A Vaughan child under 12 returned to Canada on November 22 from southern Africa and has been in home isolation since then, according to a statement from York Region Public Health. Close contact with the child is also isolated at home.
Quebec has confirmed a case of the Omicron variant. Public health officials say the affected person is from Montreal and has been doubly vaccinated and asymptomatic.
The province announced the discovery of Omicron just as Quebec is experiencing a peak in COVID-19 cases. The province reported 1,355 new cases on Friday, the highest since mid-April.