Another case of the COVID-19 UK variant has been confirmed in Ontario, bringing the total to 15 in the province.
The Middlesex-London Health Unit was notified on Saturday by the Public Health Ontario Laboratory that a resident previously diagnosed with COVID-19 was later confirmed to have the UK variant and is now recovered.
The person is in their 80s and had no recent history of travel outside of Canada.
The Health Unit has not been advised of any other laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 UK variant case in London or Middlesex County.
The COVID-19 UK variant was first identified in Kent, United Kingdom, on September 20, 2020. Ontario’s first case of the variant strain was identified in Durham Region on December 26, 2020.
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“This is the first indication that the COVID-19 UK variant is present in London and Middlesex County. Data from the UK indicates that it may spread up to 50% more easily than other variants,” says Dr. Chris Mackie, Medical Officer of Health with the Middlesex-London Health Unit, in a statement.
“The best way to protect yourself and the community from further spread is to follow public health advice to the letter and adhere to the “Stay At Home” order issued by the province. That means not making trips out of your homes unless you have to and not having contact with people who aren’t part of your household.”
During a press conference on Monday, the Associate Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Barbara Yaffe, said more cases are expected in the weeks to follow as there is now evidence of community transmission.
“It could very well become the predominant strain. We don’t know,” she said.
Last week, seven of the UK variant cases were found in York Region.