Hamilton Public Health Services is prepared for COVID-19 variants
Shared on behalf of Hamilton Public Health Services
HAMILTON, ON – Since late December, Ontario has seen a number of confirmed COVID-19 variants across the province, including the UK variant, South African variant and the Brazilian variant.
As these variants begin to spread across Ontario, Hamilton Public Health Services is fully prepared for the eventuality that COVID-19 variant cases will be confirmed in Hamilton.
Hamilton Public Health Services has revised its management of all COVID-19 cases and identified close contacts in accordance with the provincial interim guidance issued. This guidance includes:
- an increased 'sensitivity' to identifying and designating close contacts of identified cases. This means, that if there is any suspicion of exposure, the contact will be designated as close, and will require a 14-day quarantine following their contact with the case.
- immediately testing all close contacts, regardless of whether they are symptomatic or not.
- testing all close contacts around day 10 of their 14-day quarantine period, regardless of whether they are symptomatic or not.
- all household members of a close contact of a positive case will be asked to quarantine for 14 days unless it is essential to leave the home.
- if a close contact of a positive case develops symptoms, all of their close contacts will be directed to quarantine until the test result of the close contact returns negative.
These additional case and control management approaches are intended to reduce the possible transmission of COVID-19 and especially variants of concern.
Variants of COVID-19 positive cases will be posted on the City’s website under “Status of Cases in Hamilton” www.hamilton.ca/coronavirus/status-cases-in-hamilton.
It is vital that members of the public, even those who have been vaccinated, ensure that public health measures still be practiced until it is safe and said to be safe by the health professionals in all levels of government. Public health measures include:
- stay home if you are feeling unwell
- get tested for COVID-19 if you have symptoms or have been in close contact with a confirmed positive case of COVID-19
- limit gatherings to only members of your immediate household
- maintain a physical distance of 6 feet or 2 meters from others outside of your immediate household
- wash hands frequently
- wear a mask or face covering indoors and outdoors when not able to maintain physical distancing
- There is no evidence to suggest that the Health Canada-approved vaccines will be any less effective against the new variants.
- Modelling and epidemiological studies suggests that COVID-19 variants can spread easier and faster, but there is no evidence that it is more likely to cause severe illness.