Algoma Public Health has received laboratory screening results today that showed evidence of variants of concern (VOCs) in three recent cases of COVID-19 in Algoma residents. This means that COVID-19 variants of concern are circulating in Algoma.
Of the three specimens that screened positive for VOCs, two specimens were from Sault Ste. Marie & area, and one specimen was from Elliot Lake & area. Identification of the specific strains is not available at this time, pending additional laboratory information.
Variants of concern (VOCs) are new strains of the COVID-19 virus that have changed or mutated. VOCs can spread much more easily, and some can also cause more severe disease. At this time, about 60% of COVID-19 cases in Ontario are positive for mutations or VOCs.
All public health measures to prevent COVID-19 transmission continue to apply to the new variants, and they must be applied very rigorously, due to the higher risk of transmission.
As we approach the Easter holiday and spring break, and with the ongoing aggressive spread of COVID-19 and VOCs across the province and in northern Ontario, we ask all Algoma residents to be extra vigilant, and to do your part to stop the surge.