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.
Dr. Vanessa Allen, the agency’s top microbiologist, says the results show how quickly variants of COVID-19 can spread in an outbreak.
Public Health Ontario screened 1,880 positive samples from Jan. 20 and found variants in 103 cases.
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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.