There are now 44 suspected cases of COVID-19 virus variants in Montreal, according to Regional Public Health Director Dr. Mylène Drouin who confirmed this figure in a press conference on February 10.\nUPDATE: In a press conference the following day, on February 11, Quebec Public Health Director Dr. Horacio Arruda said there were 48 confirmed or suspected COVID-19 variant strain cases in the Montreal region.\nEditor's Choice: Quebec Is Thinking About Adding More Measures For The Upcoming Break\n“\n\n\nWe're trying to gain time, and in that time we hope to vaccinate [as many] people as possible.\n\n\nDr. Mylène Drouin, Montreal Public Health Director\nOf the 44 variant strain cases, nine have been confirmed through lab sequencing and 12 are epidemiologically linked, meaning they're thought to have been transmitted from someone with a confirmed variant strain in Montreal.\nTwenty-three of the variant strain cases were declared by laboratories, but have not yet been formally confirmed by Montreal public health.\nDr. Drouin said they were likely linked to travellers returning to Quebec from abroad.\nThe majority of the COVID-19 virus variants found in Montreal were linked to the United Kingdom's B.1.1.7 variant, Drouin said.\nAccording to Drouin, data has shown that the COVID-19 virus variants — originating in the U.K., Brazil and South Africa — are over 40% more transmissible than the predominant strain of SARS-CoV-2 in Montreal.\nEn conférence de presse, Dre Mylène Drouin a parlé des variants. Il y a présentement 44 cas suspectés, dont 9 confirmés, de divers variants à #Mtl. Continuons notre#EffortCollectif.Pour en savoir plus sur la situation actuelle à Montréal : https://t.co/yfNKS4WWYt@Santepub_Mtl— Santé Montréal (@santemontreal) February 10, 2021\n"The challenge with the variants is... more pronounced transmission and outbreaks," Drouin said.\nThis could lead to "more severe cases and more hospitalizations" if Montreal's vulnerable population isn't protected.\nDrouin said public health intervention is more intense and aggressive in these cases, using surveillance and contact tracing to "delay the entry of the variants in our territory."\nSanté Montreal is asking Montrealers to maintain "high vigilance" in light of the variant strains and to follow public health rules as closely as possible.