Toronto links 7 more cases of COVID-19 variant first seen in U.K. to outbreak at meat production facility
Toronto Public Health's offices at Dundas and Victoria St. in Toronto is seen on Monday, August 21, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Cole Burston
TORONTO -- Seven more cases of the COVID-19 variant first found in the U.K. have been linked to an outbreak at a Toronto meat production facility.
Toronto Public Health first notified the public of the outbreak on Feb. 1, saying that 78 workers at Belmont Meats in North York had tested positive for the novel coronavirus. Of those infections, two were positive for the B.1.1.7. variant.
At the time, officials said there was evidence of “secondary transmission of the variant in a household member” and that there was no indication that the positive cases or their close contacts had travelled recently.
Belmont Meats voluntarily closed on Jan. 28 after Toronto Public Health started an investigation into the outbreak.
On Monday, Toronto Public Health confirmed that there were now 95 positive COVID-19 cases associated to the outbreak at Belmont Meats. Of those confirmed cases, nine are now confirmed to be the B.1.1.7. variant.
Five of those cases live outside of Toronto, officials said.
The B.1.1.7. strain is believed to be more easily transmissible than the original strain and health officials project that it will be the dominant source of infection in Ontario by March.
On Sunday, Toronto Public Health confirmed its first case of the P.1. COVID-19 variant first reported in Brazil, as well as its first case of the B.1.351 COVID-19 variant first seen in South Africa.