Variant of COVID-19 found in South Africa reported in Alberta, Report

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Coronavirus Canada Updates: 69 new COVID-19 cases, 5 deaths reported in Manitoba
Coronavirus Canada Updates: 69 new COVID-19 cases, 5 deaths reported in Manitoba

The first case of a variant of COVID-19 spreading in South Africa has been reported in Alberta.

Chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw announced the case through her Twitter page Friday. She said the individual who tested positive had recently travelled and is in quarantine. There is no evidence that there has been community spread.

“I know any new case is concerning, but we are actively monitoring for these variants & working to protect the public’s health,” tweeted Hinshaw. “Our current measures in place for#COVID19ABare protective against this variant, so we must all keep staying safe and protecting each other.”

Alberta Health spokesman Tom McMillan declined to comment, citing privacy concerns, on where in the province the case was detected.

The Public Health Agency of Canada confirmed Friday’s case is the first of the South African variant in the country.

The South African variant does not appear to cause harsher symptoms than the original strain of COVID-19, however it appears to be spread more easily between people, similar to a variant found in England.

Three cases of the variant first detected in the United Kingdom have been reported in Alberta. All three cases were in recent travellers and Alberta Health has recently said there is no evidence of community spread.

Pfizer has previously said their vaccine appears to work on both variants.

Alberta reported 1,183 new cases of COVID-19 on Friday, bringing active infections to 13,628.

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