BRANTFORD–The Brant County Health Unit (BCHU) was notified by Public Health Ontario that a resident of Brant, previously diagnosed with COVID-19, has been identified as the first person in the community to have screened positive for a variant of concern (VOC).
This individual has no recent history of travel and has been classified to have recovered from the illness.
Effective February 3, 2021, every new COVID-19 positive specimen is being screened for known VOCs in Ontario. Those specimens that screen positive go on for further testing to confirm which mutation lineage has been found. BCHU is awaiting confirmation as to which lineage of VOC was detected in this individual.
“We understand the detection of a new variant of COVID-19 may generate some concern in the community, but the emergence of variants is somewhat expected in pandemics like this one,” said Acting Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Elizabeth Urbantke. “The news of a screened positive variant of concern locally reinforces how important it is to continue following public health guidance.”
While research suggests that VOCs are more transmissible and may have the potential for more severe illness, it is believed, at this time, that the Health Canada-approved vaccines will still be effective against them.
BCHU has moved to an enhanced contact management model to help slow the spread of any VOCs. This includes lower thresholds for determining high-risk contacts and augmented asymptomatic testing recommendations.
Beginning today, the BCHU COVID-19 dashboard will begin tracking VOC cases of COVID-19 in our community.
To learn more about COVID-19, how you can protect yourself and what to do if you suspect you may be at risk, please visit www.bchu.org/coronavirus or visit Ontario’s website to learn more about how the province continues to protect Ontarians from COVID-19.