By Victoria Gray
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 went live on February 18 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 two new cases on February 22. Brantford and Brant County have 46 active COVID-19 cases. There has been a total of 1,442 and 12 deaths since the beginning of the pandemic in March 2020.
Six Nation of the Grand River reported one new case on February 22, five on Feb. 21, three new cases were reported on February 20. There are 29 active cases and there has been a total of 258 cases of COVID-19 in the territorywith 226 resolved 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 have 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 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 1 new cases Feb. 7 and five new cases on Feb 19. The counties have 23 active cases and have had 1,407 cases of COVID-19 and 39 deaths since the beginning of the pandemic.
By Victoria Gray