Study results shows 5% of Ontario COVID samples from Jan. 20 were variant cases

Click to play video: 'Toronto lab pivots resources to test for COVID-19 variants'
Toronto lab pivots resources to test for COVID-19 variants
WATCH ABOVE: A Toronto research lab has pivoted their resources and is now using their platform to test for COVID-19 variants. The process speeds up the ability to find variants in comparison to the sequencing currently in place at many labs in Canada. Katherine Ward reports. – Feb 4, 2021

TORONTO — Public health officials say variants of COVID-19 were found in 5.5 per cent of cases screened on a single day in January.

The majority of those were linked to an outbreak at a nursing home in Simcoe-Muskoka.

The results are part of a Public Health Ontario study on the spread of variants in the province.

Read more: Ontario confirms 1st case of South African coronavirus variant, no known link to travel

Dr. Vanessa Allen, the agency’s top microbiologist, says the results show how quickly variants of COVID-19 can spread in an outbreak.

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Public Health Ontario screened 1,880 positive samples from Jan. 20 and found variants in 103 cases.

Read more: 63 residents now dead amid COVID-19 outbreak at Barrie, Ont., nursing home

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It says 89 of those were cases in the Simcoe-Muskoka health unit, where a deadly long-term care outbreak was driven by that strain.

So far, Ontario has recorded 152 cases of a variant that first emerged in the U.K. and one case of another that first emerged in South Africa.

Click to play video: 'Experts: Canada needs to do more to stop spread of COVID-19 variants'
Experts: Canada needs to do more to stop spread of COVID-19 variants

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