The United Kingdom (UK) variant of COVID-19 has been identified in Haldimand-Norfolk and highlights the need to continue physical distancing and follow other measures, says medical officer of health Dr. Shanker Nesathurai.
“The appearance of this more easily-transmittable variant of COVID-19 in Haldimand-Norfolk underscores the importance of continuing to follow public health guidance,” Nesathurai said in a statement on Jan. 29. “Continue to keep your distance from others, wear a mask, wash your hands frequently and avoid having close contact with those you don’t live with.”
The variant appears to be more highly contagious, though early suggestions are that the vaccines distributed in Ontario will be effective against this variant, he added.
No other details concerning the age, gender or travel history related to the COVID-19 U.K variant case were initially included in the statement announcing a case of the U.K variant.
“Unfortunately, we’re not able to provide any more details at this time,” Matt Terry, director, corporate communications, Norfolk County, said. “The health unit must balance the desire of the community to know more about specific cases of COVID-19 with everyone’s right to medical privacy.
“Given the small size of our community, providing any more details would risk identifying a specific individual or individuals jeopardizing that medical privacy.”
Meanwhile, the number of people in Haldimand-Norfolk who have tested positive for COVID-19 stands at 1,309.
According to figures provided by the health unit, 1,208 of those who have tested positive have recovered while 38 people have died as a result of the virus since the start of the pandemic.
The province declared a state of emergency on Jan. 12 due to an alarming increase of COVID-19 across Ontario. Enhanced public health and workplace safety measures and a province-wide-stay-at-home order were put in place. The state-of-emergency was expected to remain in place until at least Feb. 9.