Ontario Government Confirms First Cases of COVID-19 UK Variant in Ontario
To Help Stop the Spread Ontario Entered Provincewide Shutdown Beginning Today
A News Release from the Government of Ontario
Posted December 26th, 2020 on Niagara At Large
TORONTO — Today (this December 26th, 2020), Dr. Barbara Yaffe, Ontario’s Associate Chief Medical Officer of Health, announced the first two confirmed cases in Ontario of the COVID-19 variant first identified in the UK.
This variant has now been detected in multiple countries beyond the UK, including Denmark, Belgium, Australia and the Netherlands.
With inbound international travel, it is not unexpected to have identified the new variant in Ontario. Ontario is the first province to identify this variant thanks to the proactive work of the Public Health Ontario Laboratory.
The cases are a couple from Durham with no known travel history, exposure or high-risk contacts. Both individuals have been informed and are now in self-isolation as per public health protocols.
“This further reinforces the need for Ontarians to stay home as much as possible and continue to follow all public health advice, including the provincewide shutdown measures beginning today,” said Dr. Yaffe.
“Durham Region Health Department has conducted case and contact investigation and Ontario is working in collaboration with our federal counterparts at the Public Health Agency of Canada.”
Modelling and epidemiological studies suggest that the COVID-19 variant first identified in the UK can spread easier and faster, but there is no evidence that it is more likely to cause severe illness. There is no evidence to suggest that the Health Canada-approved vaccines will be any less effective against the new variant.
Recognizing the potential increased risk that inbound international travelers may pose with this new variant, the province continues to call on the federal government to urgently partner with Ontario to implement testing at Toronto Pearson International Airport. Regardless of whether federal support is forthcoming, the Ontario government is prepared to act on its own to implement an airport testing program.
Effective December 26 at 12:01 a.m. Ontario has entered a provincewide shutdown. These time-limited measures will help slow the transmission of COVID-19, limit mobility, preserve health system capacity, and save lives.
The Ministry of Health continues to be in constant contact with the Public Health Agency of Canada and other jurisdictions to monitor the developing situation and ensure coordinated, effective and shared efforts to protect and safeguard the public.
- Canada has posted a travel ban on all flights arriving from the UK until January 6, 2021.
- Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health strongly advises that travel out of the province should be limited to essential purposes only.
- Ontario has imposed a provincewide shutdown which started December 26, 2020 at 12:01 a.m. to stop the spread of COVID-19.
- Ontario has launched a new government web page detailing the province’s three-phase immunization program, information on COVID-19 vaccines, safety measures and approval standards, as well as regular updates on the number of Ontarians vaccinated.
- To help everyone stay safe, download the COVID Alert app. It is free to use and is available from the Apple and Google Play app stores. This app lets users know if they may have been exposed to the others who are infected with the virus.
A Very Brief Footnote from Doug Draper at Niagara At Large –
I feel bad about feeling I have to post this disturbing news just a day after Christmas, when I was truly hoping we could take a few days off from news like this.
Yet, here it is – this far more contagious strain of the killer virus COVID 19 – reported in the United Kingdom earlier this December – already here in Ontario.
This strain of COVID-19 is believed by health experts to be about 70 per cent more transmittable than the strain that has been causing such a nightmare for us already!
It is a wide open question how much responsibility for this should be placed on a federal government in Canada that, on the one hand, has banned regular crossing of traffic on border bridges in Niagara, Ontario and elswhere across the – yet allows individuals to continue to hop on an plane and travel to countries in Europe and to states like Florida (one o the world’s worst DOVID hotspots) – as is the case for more than 240,000 so-called Canadian Snowbirds.
Where in hell is the logic in letting people travel back and forth on planes, yet not in cars?
More on the irresponsible stupidity around that later.
For now, stay home and stay safe. Only go out of your house when you absolutely have to.
We already new this was going to be the toughest winter of our lifetime …. Now we are looking at something possibly far worse.
Doug Draper, Niagara At Large
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