The Eastern Ontario Health Unit (EOHU) is confirming the presence of the first cases of COVID-19 variants of concern (VOCs) in the region. Public Health Ontario (PHO) screens all positive samples for the presence of a mutation and has informed the EOHU that four samples have screened positive and are awaiting specific genetic testing to identify the exact variant types.
Suspected variants have been detected in three staff at the St. Albert Cheese Cooperative in St. Albert, which is dealing with a COVID-19 outbreak. The fourth has been identified in a separate single case in the EOHU region. The EOHU is undertaking enhanced contact tracing protocols to identify the source of infection and any contacts for all four of these cases.