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No spread from COVID-19 variant identified in Kingston, says MOH

Kingston's medical officer of health says they have not detected any other COVID-19 variants in the region, following a positive identification over the weekend. Getty Images

The Kingston region’s medical officer of health said so far, there has been no spread from a positive COVID-19 variant of concern identified over the weekend.

Dr. Kieran Moore said the person travelled from Southeast Asia back to Canada, and then returned to Kingston by car, with a friend in the vehicle.

“This person was under federal quarantine and being monitored, but did travel (to Kingston) because it was before the hotel mandatory three-day lockdown,” he said.

Read more: KFL&A Public Health discovers a COVID-19 ‘variant of concern’ in the Kingston area

Moore said the positive case’s only close contact was that one individual, who, so far, has not tested positive for COVID-19.

So no community threat or risk from our vantage point and we’re in regular contact with this individual,” he said.

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Moore explained that all COVID-19 swabs in Ontario are being sent to the province, which then analyzes the sample for a variant of concern.

The initial screening tests for variants of concern looks for a change in the spike protein, and that’s the only indication that we have that it’s a variant of concern,” he said.

Once a mutation is detected, the sample is put through genome sequencing, which will tell health officials if it’s a B.1.1.7 variant, first identified in the U.K., a B.1.135 strain, first identified in South Africa or the P.1 mutation, first found in Brazil.

Click to play video 'KFL&A Public Health discovers a COVID-19 ‘variant of concern’ in the Kingston area' KFL&A Public Health discovers a COVID-19 ‘variant of concern’ in the Kingston area
KFL&A Public Health discovers a COVID-19 ‘variant of concern’ in the Kingston area – Feb 22, 2021

He said all three of those variants are circulating in Southeast Asia, but the B.1.1.7 variant is the dominant mutation across the world at the moment.

Moore said he was unsure whether the person travelled internationally for an essential or non-essential reason.

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On Tuesday, there were no new cases of COVID-19 in the region, with only 14 active cases.

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