Alberta has detected its first case of the UK COVID-19 variant in a person with no recent travel history.
It’s concerning because that indicates the more easily transmitted variant could already be spreading in the community, Health Minister Tyler Shandro said at a news briefing Monday.
“So far Canada has not seen these variants spreading in large numbers. But that might be changing,” Shandro said.
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To date Alberta has seen 20 cases of the UK variant and five cases of the South African variant. Most of them have been linked to international travel.
The new variants are no more severe than the COVID-19 strain that’s been circulating for months, but it is between 30% and 50% more easily passed from person to person.
“They do not appear to be more deadly. But we know that when more people contract the virus we will see more hospitalizations and more deaths,” Shandro said.