First confirmed Omicron variant identified in TBDHU

Press release

The Thunder Bay District Health Unit (TBDHU) is reporting that four residents in the Thunder Bay area have been confirmed as having the omicron variant of COVID-19. It is anticipated that an additional four individuals will be confirmed as having omicron in the coming days. All individuals are in the same household and all have been isolating. There is a direct link to southern Africa, where the variant was initially recognized.

“Quick action on the part of these individuals led to very early notification of an individual with COVID-19 where omicron was a possibility due to the travel connection. Initial screening results were consistent with the delta variant, however, the confirmatory result received this weekend indicated omicron,” Said Dr. Janet DeMille, Medical Officer of Health. “We have been working with these individuals and adopted enhanced case and contact measures right from the start with the goal of containing any ongoing spread. At this time, there is no evidence of spread outside the household.”

TBDHU encourages everybody to do their part and remain vigilant in practicing public health measures. Measures such as staying home when sick, isolating and getting tested when needed, limiting contacts and gatherings, wearing a mask, and others, will work against COVID-19, regardless of which variant. In addition, vaccination with COVID-19 vaccine provides protection against COVID-19 infection and significantly lowers the risk of serious illness, hospitalization and death.

TBDHU follows up directly with all individuals diagnosed with COVID-19 and their close contacts. To protect the privacy of the individuals TBDHU will not disclose additional information about any case of COVID-19. TBDHU is working with the Province of Ontario and Public Health Ontario to monitor variants of concern including Delta and Omicron.

TBDHU strongly advises all individuals seek testing immediately, if they have any COVID-19 symptoms, or if they have returned from Botswana, Egypt, Eswatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, South Africa, and Zimbabwe within 14 days. Asymptomatic family members are also eligible for testing. Visit TBDHU.com for more information.