The first three cases of the Omicron COVID-19 variant have been identified in Toronto.
Toronto Public Health (TPH) is currently investigating three Toronto residents who tested positive for the Omicron variant of concern, which is also known as B.1.1.529.
Two of the individuals being investigated recently returned from travel in Nigeria, and the other recently returned from Switzerland.
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Health officials are currently following up with these cases and providing instructions to close contacts on isolation and testing. The science on Omicron is limited, but early data suggests the variant may be more transmissible.
Members of the community are being asked to seek testing right away if they are experiencing cold or flu-like symptoms, or if they’ve returned from travel to South Africa, Eswatini, Lesotho, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Namibia, Egypt, Nigeria or Malawi between November 1 and December 6 of this year.
TPH officials are also urging anyone who is unvaccinated to get their shot.
“Given the emergence of this new variant and the ongoing transmission of the Delta variant, it is more important than ever to seek vaccination if you have not done so already,” reads a statement from TPH.
Earlier this week, Ontario’s top doctor announced that the province was contacting and testing 375 people who recently returned from southern African countries where the new Omicron variant was detected.