Potential spread of COVID-19 variants top of mind as Niagara prepares for 'Grey'


Variants remain top of mind as Niagara prepares to go back to the colour-coded COVID-19 restriction system tomorrow.

Although there have not been any confirmed cases of the variant strains of the virus in Niagara yet, Acting Medical Officer of Health Dr. Mustafa Hirji believes it is inevitable.

"Just as we've seen the way COVID-19 sort of arrived here was it was linked a lot to people travelling from the GTA and bringing it down here. I am worried that could actually lead to it being seated here as well. And that's one of the reasons why I felt it was important that we don't get too far ahead in reopening compared to the GTA.

Niagara is the only region that will be in grey tomorrow, but there are several other regions, including Toronto and Peel, that will stay in full lockdown and won't move back to the tiered system for the time being.

Hirji says he did share his concerns about variant strains coming to Niagara via travellers from the GTA with provincial officials. "I didn't want us to be too out-of-step with the GTA in creating that incentive for everyone to come flocking here and potentially have that variant virus arrive here in Niagara earlier than it otherwise would."