A healthcare worker talks with people as they wait to be tested for COVID-19 at a clinic in Montreal, Sunday, Dec. 27, 2020. Ontario and Quebec are reporting more than 2,000 new cases of COVID-19 one day after a highly contagious new variant of the virus has been confirmed in Canada. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes

More cases of U.K. COVID-19 variant found in Canada

OTTAWA — A contagious new strain of the virus that causes COVID-19 has infiltrated two more regions of Canada, health officials said Sunday, a day after announcing the country’s first cases of the variant had been detected.

The strain of the novel coronavirus has now been found in Ottawa and the Vancouver Island area of B.C., public health authorities said.

Both patients had recently returned from the U.K., where the variant was first detected.

“This further reinforces the need for Ontarians to stay home as much as possible and continue to follow all public health advice, including the provincewide shutdown measures,” said Dr. Barbara Yaffe, Ontario’s associate chief medical officer of health.

Ontario reported Canada’s first two known cases of the virus on Saturday in a couple from Durham Region, just east of Toronto.

Public Health Ontario announced Sunday that after further investigation, they found the couple had been in contact with someone who recently returned from the U.K.

The agency had initially said the couple had no known history of travel or contact with people who had recently travelled.

Public Health Ontario said it is screening large volumes of positive COVID-19 samples to investigate how prevalent the U.K. variant is in the province. But health officials are not planning to report the different strains out separately in provincial summary reports.

The Public Health Agency of Canada said while early data suggests the new variant may be more transmissible, there is no evidence the variant causes more severe symptoms or impacts vaccine effectiveness.

The Ontario government noted on Saturday that the discovery of the variant was “not unexpected” due to international travel.

The provincial government said it is prepared to start a COVID-19 testing program in airports but is calling for support from the federal government.

News of the new cases came as Ontario and Quebec both recorded more than 2,000 diagnoses of the virus Sunday.

Ontario reported 2,005 cases of COVID-19 and 18 new deaths, while Quebec announced 2,291 new infections and 12 more deaths.

They said 6,783 new cases of COVID-19 and 110 additional deaths linked to the novel coronavirus have been reported since Thursday.

The three-day total came after the province did not publish data on the number of new infections or deaths on Friday or Saturday.

Meanwhile, Alberta’s chief medical officer said there were an estimated 500 new COVID-19 cases recorded on Boxing Day, but she cautioned the low number is a result of fewer tests being performed on Christmas Day.

Dr. Deena Hinshaw has been tweeting short COVID-19 updates over the last few days which contain estimated numbers of new cases. She reported Alberta saw an estimated 1,200 new cases on Dec. 24 and about 900 on Christmas Day.

Health officials in Manitoba reported 524 new COVID-19 cases and 28 new deaths because of the virus.

The province said one of the deaths was a woman in her 30s from the Winnipeg health region while the rest were in their 60s or older.

In Atlantic Canada, New Brunswick public health officials reported two new cases in the Moncton region.

Newfoundland and Labrador also saw three new cases of COVID-19 since its last public advisory on Christmas Eve.

The province’s public health officials say two of the cases are travel-related and involve individuals who returned to the province after working in Alberta, while the third is still under investigation.

Just Posted

Alberta has made a more detailed framework for those looking to acquire an exemption to the mandatory indoor mask bylaw. (AP Photo/Eric Gay, File)
Alberta changes requirements for mask exemptions

Masks wearing has been recommended for almost a year and provincially mandated… Continue reading

Alberta’a chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw said Thursday that there are more than 328,000 vaccine appointments booked over the next seven days. (Photo by Chris Schwarz/Government of Alberta)
Alberta surpasses 2 million doses administered of COVID-19 vaccine

Red Deer down to 835 active cases of COVID-19

RCMP file photo (Photo by Jeff Stokoe/Advocate staff)
RCMP investigating shooting near Maskwacis

Maskwacis and Wetaskiwin RCMP are seeking public assistance after a shooting has… Continue reading

Rode
Smith among impressive group of RDC soccer Queens recruits

There have been a number of cases where younger girls have developed… Continue reading

Red Deer Public Schools is projecting a $4-million budget deficit for 2021-22 school year. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)
Red Deer Public Schools prepares $124-million budget

$1 million COVID recovery plan to assist students

Bo’s Bar and Grill owner Brennen Wowk said the hospitality industry is looking for more clarity from the province around what conditions must be met to allow for restaurants reopening. (Advocate file photo)
Frustated restaurant owners want to know government’s reopening plan

Restaurant owners feel they are in lockdown limbo

Vancouver Canucks' Nils Hoglander, right, is checked by Calgary Flames goalie Jacob Markstrom during third-period NHL hockey action in Calgary, Thursday, May 13, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Lindholm, Tkachuk lead Calgary Flames in 4-1 win over Vancouver Canucks

Lindholm, Tkachuk lead Calgary Flames in 4-1 win over Vancouver Canucks

Chicago Bulls guard Zach LaVine, right, drives to the basket against Toronto Raptors center Khem Birch, left, and guard Jalen Harris during the first half of an NBA basketball game in Chicago, Thursday, May 13, 2021. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)
LaVine, Markkanen lead Bulls past Raptors, 114-102

LaVine, Markkanen lead Bulls past Raptors, 114-102

NFL schedules get off to strong starts with Week 1 twinbills

NFL schedules get off to strong starts with Week 1 twinbills

The Saddledome, home of the Calgary Flames, is shown in Calgary, Thursday, March 12, 2020. The final three games of Canada's Secret Cup women's hockey tournament will be played in Calgary's NHL arena.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Secret Cup women’s tournament final games to be held in Calgary’s Saddledome

Secret Cup women’s tournament final games to be held in Calgary’s Saddledome

FILE - In this Thursday, July 18, 2019 file photo, Ron Francis talks to reporters in Seattle after he was introduced as the first general manager for Seattle's yet-to-be-named NHL hockey expansion team. Four years since George McPhee was a “puppet master” of the NHL leading up to the Vegas expansion draft, general managers approached this trade deadline with Seattle’s upcoming addition to the league in mind. While Kraken GM Ron Francis prepares – and maybe made a handshake deal or two already like McPhee did – Seattle was on his colleagues’ minds.(AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, File)
Kraken still plan to hire coach before expansion draft

Kraken still plan to hire coach before expansion draft

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney attends a news conference in Calgary on Tuesday, Sept. 15, 2020. Simmering internal discontent in his United Conservative caucus has boiled over into an open challenge to his leadership. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Todd Korol
Two Alberta UCP members kicked out of caucus after challenging Kenney’s leadership

Two Alberta UCP members kicked out of caucus after challenging Kenney’s leadership

Toronto Blue Jays' Lourdes Gurriel Jr. (13) celebrates in the outfield at the end of a baseball game against the Atlanta Braves Thursday, May 13, 2021, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)
Bichette, Blue Jays rally again to beat Braves 8-4

Bichette, Blue Jays rally again to beat Braves 8-4

FILE - Jordan Spieth waits his turn to putt during the third round of the Valero Texas Open golf tournament in San Antonio, in this Saturday, April 3, 2021, file photo. Spieth will try to complete the career Grand Slam next week at the PGA Championship. (AP Photo/Michael Thomas, File)
Momentum for McIlroy, few others going into PGA Championship

Momentum for McIlroy, few others going into PGA Championship

Most Read