Canada’s COVID-19 death toll surpasses 15,000
A new variant of the coronavirus first seen in Britain has been detected in several countries — including Canada — amplifying worries about its spread.
The latest case was reported in Alberta on Monday, when Dr Deena Hinshaw announced 4,488 new cases and 112 deaths in the province between Dec. 23 and Dec. 27. Alberta has now surpassed 1,000 deaths due to COVID-19.
Hinshaw said the person infected with the variant had recently arrived in Alberta from the U.K. The person did everything they were supposed to upon arrival, including staying isolated from others, and there is no evidence their illness has spread, she added.
She said health officials in Alberta are working with the Public Health Agency of Canada to obtain a list of people who were sitting near the infected person on their flight to Alberta, but she believes the risk of transmission is low.
“It is important to remember that the public health measures in place are protective against this variant, and the best thing we can do to protect each other is to follow them,” Hinshaw said at a news conference.
The first reported Canadian cases, identified in a couple in southern Ontario, came as the province went into a lockdown on Saturday. The pair had contact with someone who had recently returned from the U.K., health officials later said.
“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 beginning today,” Dr. Barbara Yaffe, Ontario’s associate chief medical officer of health, said in a statement.
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On Sunday, health officials in British Columbia and the Ottawa area said they had identified people infected with the variant of the coronavirus first identified in the U.K.
The B.C. case was found in someone from the Island Health region who had recently returned from Britain. The case was detected when the person developed symptoms while in quarantine, a statement from Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix said.
The statement said a “small number of close contacts have been isolated and public health is following up with them daily.”
Health officials in the Ottawa area said the case in that region also involved someone who had recently travelled from the U.K.
“The Ottawa Public Health Department has informed the individual who is now in self-isolation. Case and contact management investigation is underway,” a statement said.
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