Omicron COVID-19 variant cases found in Durham and Halton regions – .

New COVID-19 cases in Ontario rise above 200 – .

Additional cases of the Omicron COVID-19 variant have been confirmed in Ontario.

Durham Region health officials said one person tested positive for the COVID-19 variant Omicron, which marked the first confirmed case in the Greater Toronto Area and the fifth in Ontario.

In a press release on Thursday, the Durham Region Health Department said the case was discovered during close contact with a returning traveler from southern Africa.

The health unit said it is also monitoring other cases of COVID-19 being investigated for the Omicron variant based on travel history.

“While this new variant is not a cause for alarm, it is important to remain vigilant and continue to monitor public health measures that have proven to be effective throughout the pandemic,” said Dr Robert Kyle, Durham Region Medical Officer of Health.

On Thursday evening, health officials in Halton Region reported one laboratory-confirmed case of the Omicron variant – the sixth in Ontario – and two probable cases.

The three cases are linked to one of the probable cases that recently traveled to Nigeria, according to the health unit.

Meanwhile, a COVID-19 outbreak has been declared at the Toronto East Detention Center after five people tested positive for COVID-19, including at least one who confirmed to have contracted the Omicron variant.

Toronto Public Health declared the outbreak on Thursday afternoon, noting it was doing so “out of caution” as someone linked to the facility was under investigation by the Durham Regional Health Department with a suspected case of the Omicron variant.

Not much is known about Omicron today, especially if it is more contagious, causes more serious illness, or makes vaccines less effective.

Scientists say it is of concern because of its high number of mutations. While the Omicron variant was first detected in South Africa, it may have already been widespread before South African scientists reported it to the world.

Four of the six Omicron cases found in Ontario so far are based in Ottawa.

Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr Kieran Moore told reporters at a press conference today that he expects more cases of the variant to be confirmed soon.

“There will be ongoing cases identified throughout today and into the coming days,” he said. “Our goal in Ontario is simply to mitigate the spread of Omicron over the next few weeks so that we can get science from South Africa and international agencies like the WHO to better understand this virus.”

“It’s a very dynamic situation. But we’ll see more cases and we could potentially see outbreaks, but here we are. ”

With files from Chris Fox from CP24


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