First case of COVID-19 UK Variant detected in Waterloo Region

Posted on Friday January 29, 2021

Waterloo Region – Region of Waterloo Public Health was notified last night by Public Health Ontario that a resident of Waterloo Region, who previously tested positive for COVID-19, has been identified as the first person in the region to be confirmed to have the UK variant of COVID-19. Variant testing is completed by Public Health Ontario and it is done in addition to the initial test that determines whether someone has COVID-19.

The individual, whose illness has resolved, is a female in her 30s. We are completing a further detailed investigation of the case and her contacts with respect to the UK variant and will share more information in the coming days.

It is not unexpected that the variant was detected in Waterloo Region. Over 50 cases have been identified in Ontario across multiple health units. We expect further cases to be identified as more variant testing is completed by Public Health Ontario.

Modelling and epidemiological studies suggest that the COVID-19 variant first identified in the UK is more transmissible and there are emerging concerns about the potential for more severe illness. At this time, there is no evidence to suggest that the Health Canada-approved vaccines will be any less effective against the new variant.

“What this means for Waterloo Region is that we must not let up our guard with respect to public health measures. What we have been doing are the same measures we need to employ against this variant,” said Dr. Hsiu-Li Wang, Medical Officer of Health. “Our continued commitment to public health measures is the best way to protect ourselves and loved ones against the spread of COVID-19, including the spread of the UK variant.”

  • Avoid social gatherings with those outside your immediate household
  • Limit non-essential trips outside your home
  • Practice physical distancing
  • Wear a face covering
  • Wash your hands often with warm water and soap or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer
  • Avoid enclosed, poorly ventilated spaces and crowded places
  • Stay home when you are sick

If you develop symptoms, isolate from household members and schedule an appointment for testing.

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For media information, please contact:

Kerri Hutchinson
Health Communications, Supervisor 

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