Health officials say they are very concerned about local transmission of the U.K. COVID-19 variant in York Region.
Dr. Karim Kurji, medical officer of health for York Region, confirmed to Narcity that contact tracers discovered that some infected individuals had contracted the B.1.1.7 variant during very short shopping trips.
Some [infected residents] had not spent more than 1-2 minutes doing some essential shopping.
Dr. Karim Kurji
"We are very concerned about the variant in circulation within York Region," Dr. Kurji wrote.
"We are expeditiously contacting the close contacts of the cases in order to ensure there isn’t any unwitting transmission happening."
Reports by The Globe and Mail claim that Simcoe Muskoka District Health has shortened its official guidelines on the variant's potential exposure time to as little as 60 seconds.
The U.K. variant is responsible for one of Ontario's deadliest COVID-19 outbreaks at long-term care home Roberta Place, where 61 individuals have now died, reports CTV News.
All but one resident and more than half the staff at Roberta Place have tested positive for the disease.
Close contacts continue to be the largest factor of transmission of COVID-19 in York Region, says Dr. Kurji.
He reminds the public that this "further reinforces the need for everyone to stay home, limit trips outside of your home for essential reasons only and continue following all public health advice."