Southwestern Public Health Confirms First Variant of Concern Cases in Our Region

Modesto Morganelli
Marzo 5, 2021

Southwestern Public Health, the region's health unit, said Thursday that routine laboratory testing identified a variant of COVID-19 in two people who live in the same house.

A variant first identified in California was found in campus and health system samples after winter break, and a variant found in NY was identified in a health system sample this week.

"We've successfully identified the person in question", health minister Matt Hancock said.

Health authorities are trying to stop the spread of the variant, known as P1, because of concerns that it may respond less well to current vaccines.

The individual's location has not been reported.

Currently, there are three different variants circulating in Canada and internationally - the United Kingdom variant known as B.1.1.7., the South African variant known as B.1.351, and the Brazil variant, P.1.

The P.1 variant has been designated "of concern" as it shares some mutations with the contagious South African strain.

The country's executive agency is now investigating the variant and has confirmed all individuals who tested positive and their contacts have been told to isolate.

Figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) estimate that around one in 220 people in private households in England had Covid-19 between February 21 and 27 - the equivalent of 248,100 people.

One of these mutations - called E484K - may help the virus evade some of the immunity people may have already built against Covid.

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