Plus one ‘variant of concern’ case within health unit
MANITOULIN – Public Health Sudbury and Districts (PHSD) reported one new case of COVID-19 for Manitoulin District on Friday, January 22. This brings Manitoulin District’s total case count to 24 since the pandemic’s spring 2020 start, 23 of which are resolved.
By press time Monday the total active case count in the PHSD catchment area sat at 77. The total number of resolved cases is 387.
This is Manitoulin’s first new case of the virus since January 10.
On Monday, PHSD notified that laboratory testing by Public Health Ontario revealed a possible case of a more highly transmissible strain of COVID-19. These strains are referred to as variants of concern (VOCs). Further sequencing of the sample is underway by the laboratory to confirm the finding and identify the variant. The results are expected in the next few days.
“I am very pleased to note that our quarantine and isolation practices are working,” said Dr. Penny Sutcliffe, medical officer of health with PHSD. “The individual involved is doing well and has a history of international travel which requires a 14-day quarantine period following return to Canada. This has given us time to identify the possible variant and ensure it is not spread. The rate at which these new variants spread is of course alarming as we have seen in other areas of the province and parts of the world. We need to do everything in our power to slow to the spread for as long as we can.”
SARS-CoV-2 VOCs are reported to local public health units. PHSD was notified of the preliminary result on January 24.
COVID-19 test samples that meet criteria established by Public Health Ontario Laboratory Services are screened for variants of concern using a two-part test. An initial test looks for a mutation and if positive, there is a high probability that the mutations are of a VOC. The second part of the test is a whole genome sequencing test to determine the exact COVID-19 variant.
COVID-19 variants have been shown to be highly transmittable. The ability to spread more quickly in people makes it more critical than ever to continue to follow public health measures. A reminder that a stay-at-home order is in effect requiring everyone to remain at home with exceptions for essential purposes, such as going to the grocery store or pharmacy, accessing health care services, for exercise, or for essential work.
Anyone who is exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms or has concerns that they may have been in contact with a known case should contact the Manitoulin Health Centre COVID assessment centres by calling 705-368-2300 (Little Current site) or 705-377-5311 (Mindemoya site) and following the prompts. Testing is based on a clinical assessment of each person.
Visit Manitoulin.com for more information on the status of cases on Manitoulin Island as information becomes available.