By Victoria Gray
BRANT COUNTY-A person with a COVID-19 variant of concern was found in County of Brant.
This person, who was previously diagnosed with COVID-19 was identified as the first person in Brantford and County of Brant to have a variant by the Brant County Health Unit (BCHU) on Thursday.
The BCHU added a COVID-19 dashboard that goes live today to start tracking variants of concern cases of COVID-19 in the community.
The person has no recent history of travel and has already recovered from COVID-19.
BCHU reported four new cases on February 18. Brantford and Brant County have 29 active COVID-19 cases. There has been a total of 1,414 and 12 deaths since the beginning of the pandemic in March 2020.
Six Nation of the Grand River reported zero new cases on February 16, one on Feb. 17, five new cases were reported on February 19. There are 35 active cases and there has been a total of 249 cases of COVID-19 in the territory and 3 deaths.
The Ontario government mandated that as a of February, 3 every new COVID-19 positive test will be screened for known variants in Ontario.
Those samples that come back positive for a variant go on to further testing to confirm which mutation that person contracted.
BCHU is still waiting for confirmation about which variant of concern was detected in the local person.
“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,” Acting Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Elizabeth Urbantke said. “The news of a screened positive variant of concern locally reinforces how important it is to continue following public health guidance.”
A press release said research suggests those variants are more contagious and hav the potential to cause a more severe illness, but Health Canada believes the vaccines it approved should still be effective against the variants.
BCHU has moved to enhance contact management models to help slow the spread of any variants of concern. This includes lower thresholds for determining high-risk contacts and a different asymptomatic testing recommendations.
To learn more about how to protect yourself and what to do if you suspect you may be at risk visit www.bchu.org/coronavirus.
Health and Social Services Haldimand and Norfolk reported zero new cases Thursday and one new case on Wednesday. The counties have 11 active cases and have had 1,385 cases of COVID-19 and 39 deaths since the beginning of the pandemic.