Coronavirus Canada Updates: First COVID-19 variant of concern identified at Toronto shelter

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Toronto is reporting the first COVID-19 case that has screened positive for a variant of concern at a local shelter.

The variant of concern has been found at the Maxwell Meighen Centre, according to Toronto Public Health (TPH).

“The city is advising the public about this case in the interest of transparency. The Public Health Ontario Laboratory is conducting further tests to confirm if the case is a variant of concern, and to identify the variant,” reads a statement issued Saturday morning.

TPH did not say how long it will take to get results from the genome sequencing testing, which will identify the variant.

TPH says there are currently eight cases of the novel coronavirus at the shelter, which is funded by the city and operated by The Salvation Army.

All clients who have tested positive or who are close contacts have been sent to an isolation/recovery site, TPH says.

Testing for all staff and clients is currently underway.

As of Saturday, there are at least 33 lab-confirmed cases of the U.K. variant in Toronto, according to Ontario’s Ministry of Health.

Last Sunday, TPH confirmed the first case of the P.1 variant, which first originated in Brazil, in a Toronto resident.

There are currently three variants of concern that have been lab-confirmed in Ontario: 297 cases of the U.K. variant (B.1.1.7), three of the South African variant (B.1.351) and one of the Brazilian variant.

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