Health Unit Receives Confirmation of the Second Confirmed COVID-19 Variant Originating From South Africa

NORTH BAY, ON – The North Bay Parry Sound District Health Unit (Health Unit) has received lab confirmation of a second individual testing positive for the COVID-19 Variant of Concern (VOC) originating from South Africa. The individual had previously received a preliminary positive result for a COVID-19 VOC. This case is linked to the Skyline – Lancelot Apartments outbreak.

As of February 23, 2021 at 3:00 p.m., 42 people have tested positive for COVID-19 associated with the outbreak. Of these, 26 people have preliminary positive results for a VOC and two individuals have a confirmed VOC strain originating from South Africa. Two individuals associated with the outbreak have passed, both had preliminary positive VOC results.

“There is still much to learn about the COVID-19 Variant of Concern originating from South Africa. We do know that VOCs are 50 to 70 percent more contagious than the original version of the virus, but we do not know all of the health effects associated with this variant,” explains Dr. Jim Chirico, Medical Officer of Health.

The Health Unit District is also experiencing community spread of the VOCs in both the Nipissing and Parry Sound Districts. Community spread means the individuals do not know where they caught the virus, and they have not travelled outside the district, or had contact with out-of-district travelers.

“We must all do what we can to help slow the spread of COVID-19 in our community to help save lives and to be able to re-open our economy. It is essential we continue to follow public health measures,” states Dr. Chirico.

Public health measures include:

staying home, except for essential reasons;
physical distancing of at least two metres;
wearing a face covering;
washing or sanitizing hands often;
covering coughs and sneezes.
If you think you may have COVID-19 symptoms or have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive, first self-isolate and then use Ontario’s Self-Assessment Tool to see if you need to seek testing or further care. If you need further assistance, call your health care provider or the Health Unit at 1-800-563-2808. If you have severe symptoms, such as difficulty breathing, you should call 911 and mention your symptoms if you are able.

Visit Ontario’s website to learn more about how the province continues to protect Ontarians from COVID-19.

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For information on the current Skyline – Lancelots Apartment outbreak, visit our website.