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Omicron COVID-19 variant linked to 2 hockey teams in Cambridge: Waterloo Public Health

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Over the weekend, Waterloo Public Health announced that there was a strong chance that two COVID-19 outbreaks connected to hockey teams in the area are linked to the Omicron variant.

In one case, a Hespeler Shamrocks team played in a tournament in London where there have been 11 cases connected with the outbreak.

Read more: Ontario regions bring in stricter measures, booster bookings ramp up in Omicron race

In the other, a Cambridge Roadrunners team played in a tournament that was held in the Ajax-Markham area and that has been connected to an outbreak of 20 cases.

On Saturday, Waterloo Public Health said it was following up with players from both teams as well as close contacts to advise them to stay home and quarantine until test results are available.

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The agency says it is awaiting results of whole genomic sequencing but it appears likely that these are Omicron clusters.

Waterloo Public Health says that four cases connected with the Hespeler Shamrocks and another linked to the Cambridge Roadrunners have screened positive for a marker that increases the likelihood that it’s the Omicron variant.

Read more: Ontario needs new COVID pandemic response strategy as Omicron makes inroads: experts

“It is highly likely that the new Omicron variant is already here in Waterloo Region, and we expect that it will spread quickly,” said Dr. Hsiu-Li Wang, medical officer of health.

“We know that the best defence against COVID-19 and the new Omicron variant is to get vaccinated and follow public health precautions. At this time of heightened risk, we are also advising residents to reduce non-essential social contacts.”

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