Hamilton, Peel Region confirm first cases of COVID-19 Omicron variant
Health officials in Hamilton and Peel Region confirmed Saturday their first cases of the Omicron coronavirus variant.
In a news release issued Saturday evening, Peel Public Health said the region’s first case was identified in an individual who is a close contact of a travel-related case in Halton Region.
The health unit said that the person is isolating at home and added that the risk of further spread is low.
“With variants like Omicron emerging around the world, residents must continue to mask, socially distance, and get tested and isolate when sick,” Dr. Lawrence Loh, Peel Region’s medical officer of health, said in a statement.
“More importantly, I encourage you to get two doses of the vaccine as soon as possible. Those eligible for a third or booster dose are encouraged to get their additional dose as well.”
Earlier in the day, Hamilton also reported its first case of the Omicron variant of concern.
Hamilton Public Health Services (HPHS) announced Monday that there were two suspected cases of the Omicron variant after two individuals tested positive for COVID-19 following a trip to South Africa.
On Saturday morning, Public Health Ontario confirmed that one of those individuals tested positive for the variant, which was first discovered in southern Africa last week.
“The result for the second case under investigation is in the process of being sequenced and expected in the coming days,” HPHS said in a press release.
The two individuals and their close contacts are self-isolating and HPHS is conducting case and contact management.
“It’s important for the community to remain calm and have confidence that all levels of government will follow the science as it relates to the Omicron variant,” Dr. Ninh Tran, Hamilton’s associate medical officer of health, said in a statement.
“Hamilton Public Health Services remains committed to keeping the community updated in the coming days and weeks as we learn more about the Omicron variant,” he added.
All public health units in Ontario have been directed to manage confirmed cases of COVID-19 who travelled internationally in the past 14 days as a patient under investigation for Omicron.
With the two new cases Saturday, the Omicron variant has been discovered in all health units in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area.
On Friday, Toronto confirmed its first three cases of the Omicron variant in two individuals who returned from a trip to Nigeria and the other who travelled to Switzerland.