No community transmission of Omicron in Quebec as province confirms five cases
In the week since Quebec confirmed its first case of the new Omicron COVID-19 variant, health officials say there have only been a handful of cases positively identified in the province.
On Nov. 29, the government announced it had detected its first known case of the variant from someone who had returned from a trip to Nigeria.
Quebec’s health ministry said in a tweet Wednesday afternoon that as of Dec. 7, only five cases have been identified so far through sequencing and they all appear to be related to travel abroad.
“Seven cases are under investigation,” the tweet also said.
When news of the first case arrived in Quebec, Health Minister Christian Dubé said his department was made aware of at least 115 travellers arriving in Quebec from countries of concern, where the variants were first detected, and that those people were asked to take a new PCR test and self-isolate.
The update on Wednesday is in line with what officials said last week that, at least for now, the new variant doesn’t appear to be spreading locally in Quebec.
The government said after a one-day survey of COVID-19 tests there were no positive cases confirmed. The province is still monitoring travellers and their contacts closely to keep an eye on the situation.
The absence of community transmission of the Omicron variant was one of the reasons the government cited when it announced on Tuesday that it will allow larger indoor gatherings in homes in the lead up to the holidays. Quebecers can allow up to 20 people into their homes as of Dec. 23 and are firmly recommending all guests be vaccinated.
On Wednesday, the province continued its upward trend for new daily cases with 1,367 new COVID-19 infections recorded, along with two new deaths due to the virus. Hospitalizations increased by seven in the last 24 hours, for a total of 242.