As of Feb. 2, Ontario Public Health reported 106 cases of COVID-19’s U.K. variant in the province, with one travel-related case identified in Halton Region as of Feb. 3.
While cases of COVID-19 are decreasing across Ontario, the spread of a more contagious variant presents a “significant threat” to controlling the pandemic, the province’s health advisors said.
The variant – first identified in the U.K. – could become the dominant strain of the virus in the province by March and residents must maintain public health measures to guard against it, the advisors said.
“The variant from the United Kingdom gives us less room to relax, and less room for error,” said Dr. Adalsteinn Brown, co-chair of the province’s pandemic science advisory table.
“It is a significant threat to controlling the pandemic.”
While cases of COVID-19 are dropping in Ontario, the U.K. variant, however, could cause cases to spike again if precautions aren’t taken, Brown said. The experience of other countries shows that measures like wearing masks and practicing physical distancing can help keep it under control, he said.
With files from Shawn Jeffords, The Canadian Press