Quebec is reporting its first case of a variant of COVID-19 that was first detected in the United Kingdom earlier this month as officials sound the alarm over a rising number of infections, deaths and hospitalizations in the province.
In a statement issued Tuesday, the province’s Health Ministry said the person was “in contact with a member of their family who returned to Quebec on Dec. 11, after a stay in the United Kingdom, and who tested positive for COVID-19 on Dec. 13.”
“The epidemiological investigation showed that the person who traveled had only prolonged contact with the three members of their family, all of whom tested positive for COVID-19 and who are in isolation at their home. One of these individuals has been identified with variant S.”
Public health authorities carried out investigations in Montreal and the Eastern Townships. They are following the situation “very closely,” according to the ministry.
Health Minister Christian Dubé says the first identified case of this new coronavirus variant in the province does not mean there are any changes to quarantine measures.
The move comes after Canada’s first confirmed case of the variant was reported in Ontario over the weekend.
While the new variant was first detected in the United Kingdom, it has since spread to Australia, Japan and several European countries.
Canada’s public health agency says while early data suggests the new variant may be more transmissible, there is no evidence the variant causes more severe symptoms of COVID-19 or impacts vaccine effectiveness.