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Toronto Officials Say UK Variant May Be Linked To Outbreak With Nearly 80 COVID-19 Cases

Dr. de Villa says she believes it's the first workplace outbreak related to the variant.
Staff Writer

On Monday, February 1, city officials announced that they suspect the Toronto U.K. variant was responsible for a recent COVID-19 outbreak at a meat processing plant.

Seventy-eight employees at Belmont Meats, a meat production facility in Toronto, have tested positive for COVID-19. Two of them have screened positive for U.K. variant B.1.1.7. 

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At present, known variants of the novel coronavirus are believed to be more transmissible. Toronto Public Health

In a press release published on Monday, Toronto also announced there was evidence to suggest the U.K. variant had spread within a household associated with a Belmont Meats employee.

Toronto Public Health began investigating the meat processing facility on January 26, after they were alerted to a possible outbreak.

The facility — which does not have public-facing operations — voluntarily closed two days later.

Toronto Public Health has issued a letter to all cases and contacts informing them about the U.K. variant news and has provided direction about isolation and testing.

Speaking to reporters on Monday, Toronto's Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Eileen de Villa said the known variants of concern are more transmissible, could make some people sicker, and might be able to reinfect people who have recovered from COVID-19.

She also said that current vaccines being administered seem to have an effect on the variants of concern, though sometimes at a lower level.

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