Saskatchewan reported 2 cases of the COVID-19 U.K. variant. Both of these cases are located in Regina.
Contact tracing has determined that one case had traveled to Regina from the United Kingdom, and the second case is a close contact of the traveler.
The individuals were tested in mid-January. They both quarantined following travel and are no longer infectious. Public health believes there is no indication of further transmission.
“While the Roy Romanow Provincial Laboratory is testing travelers for variants of concern, those tests must be genome-sequenced at the National Microbiology Laboratory in Winnipeg.” The Government of Saskatchewan said in a news release.
This process can take anywhere from one to two weeks.
The province is considering whether an increase in public health measures in required.
Saskatchewan’s Chief Medical Health Officer, Dr. Saqib Shahab, says it’s unknown if a variant would become the dominant strain in Canada, but if that were to happen, tighter restrictions would be needed.
“We know this is a more contagious variant, which serves to reinforce to each of us why we need to keep doing what we know works to reduce the spread of this virus,” Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe said.
Canada’s Prime Minister said “rare exceptions" to the latest travel restrictions will be made on compassionate grounds, but that more contagious COVID-19 variants now taking hold in Canada mean tough rules must be implemented in the next few weeks.
The coronavirus mutation "of most concern" that could impact vaccine efficacy has occurred spontaneously in the U.K. variant, a professor of outbreak medicine who is part of a panel that advises the British government said on Tuesday.
On Tuesday, New Brunswick reported three cases of the U.K. variant, one of which believed to be related to travel within Canada.