covid 19

Test results have confirmed the first COVID-19 variant in Grey Bruce. In a February 17 media release from the Grey Bruce Health Unit (GBHU), the individual is from another health unit and is self-isolating at a second residence in Grey Bruce. The GBHU Case and Contact Management Team is monitoring the individual’s progress and said potential risk to the public during the trip to the location of isolation was mitigated.

In a later email February 17, a representative with the Health Unit said that determining which variant was identified is "pending" and that the result isn't expected for "days".

Current reporting indicates that the incubation period for these variant strains can be shorter, resulting in rapid transmission; therefore, early containment is essential, the release continued.

GBHU said that to address the higher transmission rate seen with the new strains of COVID-19 and stop the spread of the new variants, Ontario has adopted a six-point strategy which includes mandatory on-arrival testing of international travellers, enhanced screening and sequencing to identify the new variants, maintaining public health measures, strengthening case and contact management, enhancing protections for vulnerable populations, and leveraging the latest data to inform public health decisions.

Changes also include a revised definition of high-risk contacts to reflect the increased risk of transmission. High-risk contacts and their household will be asked to follow more rigorous protocols.

"Public Health is the lead in all outbreaks and case management," read the release. "Public Health will contact you if you have had close contact with someone who has COVID-19, based on a thorough risk assessment completed only by Public Health. Determining who is a close contact is a decision that only Public Health can make," the release said, adding that the new variants are a reminder to everyone to follow the three Ws to reduce transmission of COVID-19:

• Wash hands frequently
• Watch distance (ideally 6ft), and
• Wear face covering correctly

LAST UPDATED: February 18, 10:30 a.m.