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Omicron variant arrives in Thunder Bay

Up to eight people may be infected with the variant, first detected in southern Africa.

THUNDER BAY -- The Omicron variant has arrived in Thunder Bay.

The Thunder Bay District Health Unit on Sunday said four cases have been confirmed and four more are expected to be confirmed when test results are verified.

All eight individuals live in the same household and all have been isolating. There is a tie to southern Africa, where the variant is believed to have originated.

"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."

The heath unit 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.

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