Published Monday, February 1, 2021 3:46PM EST
“Today I want to confirm that Ontario is going to report its first case of the so called B 1.351 or the South African variant of concern,” Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer Dr. David Williams said at a news conference.
In a statement, Peel Public Health said the variant was detected in a Mississauga man and that he is recovering at home.
Along with the U.K. variant (B.1.17), the South African variant is one of the so-called variants of concern; strains of COVID-19 thought to be more contagious than the regular strain of COVID-19.
“Peel currently has seven confirmed cases of variants of concern (VOC), including six cases of B.1.1.7. However, with the newly announced aggressive testing now underway through Public Health Ontario labs, this number is expected to increase,” Peel Public Health said in its statement.
The health unit added that while the variants are aggressive, “it is important to remember that they are still COVID-19 – they are not a new disease.”
The statement said actions already being undertaken, such as distancing, masking and staying home will help stop the disease.
The South African variant has been detected in 22 other countries so far. Canada has reported a growing number of cases, with six logged in Alberta and four in British Columbia.
However, aggressive testing for the variant has just recently started and the number of cases is expected to rise as testing is expanded.