The City of Hamilton issued a statement Thursday (Feb. 11) regarding Public Health’s preparedness as COVID-19 variants emerge across Ontario.
Since late December, the province has seen a number of confirmed variants across, including the UK variant, South African variant, and the Brazilian variant.
Hamilton Public Health says it “is fully prepared for the eventuality that COVID-19 variant cases will be confirmed in Hamilton.”
Meanwhile, the agency says there is no evidence to suggest that the Health Canada-approved vaccines will be any less effective against the new variants; adding that modelling and epidemiological studies suggest that COVID-19 variants can spread easier and faster, but there is no evidence that it is more likely to cause severe illness.
In response to the variants, Public Health revised its management of all cases and added the following guidelines:
- an increased ‘sensitivity’ to identifying and designating close contacts of identified cases. This means, that if there is any suspicion of exposure, the contact will be designated as close, and will require a 14-day quarantine following their contact with the case.
- immediately testing all close contacts, regardless of whether they are symptomatic or not.
- testing all close contacts around day 10 of their 14-day quarantine period, regardless of whether they are symptomatic or not.
- all household members of a close contact of a positive case will be asked to quarantine for 14 days unless it is essential to leave the home.
- if a close contact of a positive case develops symptoms, all of their close contacts will be directed to quarantine until the test result of the close contact returns negative.
“These additional case and control management approaches are intended to reduce the possible transmission of COVID-19 and especially variants of concern,” said the City.
Variants of COVID-19 positive cases will be posted on the City’s website: hamilton.ca/coronavirus/status-cases-in-hamilton.