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Variants spreading in Dryden, Kenora regions: NWHU

Northwestern Health Unit warns of new cases of COVID-19 variants of concern in two regions.

KENORA – More contagious and dangerous variants of COVID-19 are spreading in the Dryden and Kenora regions, the Northwestern Health Unit has warned.  

Additional cases of the variants have been discovered in the two regions, the health unit advised in a statement issued Sunday evening. It did not provide details on the number of new variant cases detected.

The NWHU implored residents to strictly adhere to public health restrictions under the current provincial shutdown, warning the COVID-19 variants are known to spread faster and more easily, and result in more hospitalizations and deaths.

The agency reported it was "continuing to see large gatherings," warning those could have "dire consequences" for residents.

“Now that we are in a provincial lockdown, it is imperative that the public follow the restrictions set out by the province,” said NWHU medical officer of health Dr. Kit Young Hoon. “Individuals should not gather with anyone who they do not live with, and avoid travel, even within the region, unless it is for an essential purpose.”

One of the variant cases is related to the Valleyview Public School in Kenora, reported on Saturday, the health unit said.

There was no indication that variant cases in the two regions were related, it added.

At least four cases of the B.1.1.7 variant, first discovered in the UK, had previously been detected in the Dryden area.

The variants are believed to be spreading across a wide range of age groups, the agency said.