Ontario confirms first case of South African COVID-19 variant

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Ontario is reporting its first case of a new COVID-19 variant that emerged in South Africa late last year.

The province's chief medical officer says the case was found in Peel Region and the local public health unit is investigating.

Dr. David Williams says the person does not have a known history of travel or any known contact with someone who has travelled.

Williams says data from South Africa shows the variant has a higher viral load, meaning it may be more infectious.

It's one of three ``variants of concern'' that Public Health Ontario is ramping up screening for in the province.

Ontario has already recorded dozens of cases of the U.K. variant of COVID-19.