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Pair of Omicron COVID variant cases confirmed in Ottawa

The two cases are the first to be identified in the province, and are believed to be the first in the country.
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The first cases of the Omicron COVID-19 variant have been confirmed in Ontario, according to provincial health officials.
 
Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health and Dr. Kieran Moore, Chief Medical Officer of Health, said Sunday both cases were confirmed in individuals in Ottawa with recent travel from Nigeria.
 
“Public Health is conducting case and contact management and the patients are in isolation,” they said in a statement.
 
These are believed to be Canada’s first known cases of the new variant.
 
The Ontario government said that it is prepared and ready to respond to the new variant. 

It also said that Ontario has the infrastructure in place to manage outbreaks, including high-volume capacity for testing with 230 assessment centres and community labs and over 500 pharmacies offering testing to those who need it. 

The government added that it is enhancing its COVID-19 testing strategy by expanding the number of testing locations and making it more convenient to access publicly funded testing for those who need it as we head into the winter months and more people gather indoors. 

In order to rapidly identify, trace and isolate COVID-19 and its variants, Ontario has already expanded eligibility for provincially-funded COVID-19 PCR testing at all testing centres to individuals who have returned from, or travelled in, the following locations between November 1st and December 6th, 2021: South Africa, Botswana, Lesotho, Eswatini, Mozambique, Namibia, and Zimbabwe. 

"Asymptomatic family members and other household contacts of travellers are also eligible for testing," the statement read. "This list of travel locations may be updated as we learn more about the new variant. Anyone experiencing symptoms, even if they are mild, is strongly recommended to get tested."

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