The Omicron variant is classified as a "variant of concern" by the WHO.
On November 28, Ontario's Deputy Premier and Minister of Health Christine Elliott and Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Kieran Moore released a statement confirming that two cases of the new Omicron variant of COVID-19 have been detected in Ottawa.
"Both of which were reported in individuals with recent travel from Nigeria. Ottawa Public Health is conducting case and contact management and the patients are in isolation," the release read.
The Omicron variant is classified as a "variant of concern" by the World Health Organization (WHO). The WHO states that such variants may have increased transmissibility and/or disease severity, among other factors.
In a news release from November 26, the Government of Canada explained that "as a precautionary measure, until January 31, 2022, the Government of Canada is implementing enhanced border measures for all travellers who have been in the Southern Africa region — including South Africa, Eswatini, Lesotho, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, and Namibia— within the last 14 days before arriving in Canada."
As for the two cases that have been detected in Ottawa, Ontario officials say that the province is ready to respond to the presence of this new variant. "Our hospital and intensive care capacity remain stable and the province continues to report one of the lowest rates of active cases in the country."
At the time of writing this article, there were no reports of the Omicron variant having been detected in Quebec.
The WHO reminds individuals that reducing one's risk of getting COVID-19 is possible through measures "including proven public health and social measures such as wearing well-fitting masks, hand hygiene, physical distancing, improving ventilation of indoor spaces, avoiding crowded spaces, and getting vaccinated."
Health Canada has a robust website with all the latest information on COVID-19 vaccines and can answer any questions you may have.
This article’s cover image was used for illustrative purposes only.
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