Health unit says “variants of concern” have reached Renfrew County & District

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The Renfrew County and District Health Unit says COVID-19 “variants of concern” (VOC) have reached our region.

The health unit reported Sunday that one third of new confirmed cases in the last week have been confirmed to be the UK B.1.1.7 VOC.

The health unit said initial cases can be contributed to travel and workplaces outside of the region, followed by community spread within the district.

The county has seen at least 23 new cases of COVID-19 this week, including 10 reported Saturday alone.

“With the concerning increase in the number of cases and now cases related to VOCs in RCD (Renfrew County District), we will soon move from yellow to orange, and hopefully not into a red zone. We are urging everyone to do their part to help stop the spread,” said Dr. Robert Cushman, acting medical officer of health.

“If you have even one symptom of COVID-19, stay home and arrange for testing. Tell your family members to also stay home and isolate until you have your test results back,” Cushman added.

“Everyone, regardless of symptoms, is asked to only go out for essential reasons and to work remotely where possible. We need to ensure that we are taking all necessary precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in our communities, to keep our family, friends and residents safe.”

The health unit said staff are actively investigating the new cases and all high-risk contacts have and will continue to receive public health follow up through a standard text message from the RCDHU virtual assistant within 24 hours, notifying them that they have recently been exposed to COVID-19.

All high-risk contacts will be directed to complete the virtual assistant survey to complete contact tracing.

Household members of high-risk contacts also must self-isolate if they cannot isolate away from the contact.

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