DAN CEARNS, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, for The Standard
KAWARTHA LAKES: Provincial and local officials are stressing caution, following the recent findings of the Omicron Covid-19 variant. Recently, cases of the variant were found in Ontario.
“The discovery of the variant here in Ontario is cause for concern, but it’s not cause for panic. Every day we learn more about the Omicron virus; about how quickly it can spread and how severe it may be. We’re learning about how effective our vaccines are, and every day we hold off more cases in our country, the more time we have to learn and prepare,” Premier Doug Ford said at a press conference, on Wednesday, December 1st.
Premier Ford also explained what the province will do to help combat this new variant.
“We’re going to make sure we’re very cautious and enhance everything we possibly can,” he stated.
At a recent virtual press conference, Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health unit’s (HKPR) medical officer of health, Dr. Natalie Bocking, discussed the new variant.
“It was identified by scientists in South Africa. It is quite likely this variant had been circling for several weeks, both in South Africa as well as in other countries, before being fully identified. What’s concerning about this variant is the number of mutations [which] have been identified in its genomic sequencing and its analysis,” Dr. Bocking explained.
However, she added, “there is not enough data as of yet to confirm the public health implications of this new variant.”
Dr. Bocking believes this new variant will become the dominant Covid-19 variant.
“I do think it’s [just] a matter of time before we see increased cases associated with this variant. I think we were in a very similar situation a couple of months ago with the Delta variant. What we’ve seen is, the more opportunity there is for Covid-19 to spread, these stronger variants [most often] become the dominant variant. It’s likely over the next couple of months, Omicron could become the dominant variant, the same way the Delta variant became the dominant variant.”