Three Toronto residents test positive for Omicron COVID-19 variant – .

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Three Toronto residents test positive for Omicron COVID-19 variant – .


Toronto reported its first three cases of the Omicron coronavirus variant on Friday, bringing the total number of known cases in Ontario to 11.

In a press release, Toronto Public Health (TPH) said two of the three residents who tested positive for the variant of concern (B.1.1.529) had returned from a trip to Nigeria while the other traveled to Swiss.

“These are the first cases of the omicron variant of concern that have been confirmed by whole genome sequencing, reported in Toronto,” TPH said in a statement Friday evening.

“The TPH case and contact management team is currently tracking these cases and providing instructions to identify close contacts during isolation and testing. “

Pediatric infectious disease specialist Dr Anna Banerji said she was concerned but not surprised one of the cases involved a traveler who was not returning from one of the southern African countries affected by travel restrictions from the federal government.

“The whole world is so interconnected. Someone from South Africa can go anywhere in the world, ”Banerji said.

“I think it’s a mistake to say, to think that we are controlling Omicron by just blocking travel from South Africa unless the whole world stops all travel. You cannot lock it. Already there it is. “

Banerji said that while there are still many unknowns about Omicron, she is concerned about how quickly the variant is spreading, especially in South Africa.

“We have to watch it and once again continue to be vigilant and careful, especially as the holiday season approaches,” she said.

Infectious disease epidemiologist Maria Sundaram said it was likely there is already community transmission in the province.

“We are lucky that South African scientists were able to identify it and alert the world. But that doesn’t mean it’s not already there, sort of on our doorstep, ”she said.

“Regarding the degree of transmissibility, the initial data seems to show that it is very transmissible. In fact, it is currently competing with the Delta variant in South Africa, which is very scary. We don’t really have a lot of data on the potential severity of the disease. So that’s something that I keep looking for. “

A total of five new cases of the Omicron variant were reported on Friday, the other two also in the Greater Toronto Area.

York Region Public Health said its first case of the variant was identified in a child under 12 from Vaughan. Meanwhile, Durham officials have confirmed a second case of Omicron in the region.

Ontario’s chief medical officer of health Dr. Kieran Moore said earlier this week it was only a matter of time before more cases were detected in the province.

Exposure to COVID in a downtown restaurant

Toronto’s first cases were confirmed the same day TPH informed the public of COVID-19 exposure at a downtown restaurant linked to a suspected case of the Omicron variant.

TPH said an employee of Piccolo Caffe E Vino, located on John Street near Adelaide Street, who tested positive for COVID-19, was at the restaurant between 9 p.m. and 2 a.m. on November 26 and 27.

Officials said the case was under investigation as a suspected variant of Omicron due to the individual’s recent trips to South Africa.

Public health officials are asking anyone who was at the restaurant during this time to get tested immediately for COVID-19 and to watch for symptoms for 10 days after their last visit.

“There is no risk to anyone attending the facility outside of these dates and times,” officials said in a press release on Friday.

“TPH followed all known close contacts and asked these people to self-isolate for 10 days and get tested. “

TPH added that the restaurant does not maintain customer contact records for restaurant patrons, as required by Ontario’s Reopening Act, and is currently under investigation.

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