Omicron variant has province’s chief medical health officer busy seeking information

Saskatchewan’s Chief Medical Health Officer says he has been in daily contact with the federal government and the Public Health Agencyc of Canada about the new COVID-19 Omicron variant. Dr. Saqib Shahab says the Public Health Agency has contacted 40 people from this province who have returned from the Southern African countries where the variant has been detected. They are being asked to quarantine for fourteen days and to get tested.

Shahab says just under half have already submitted their tests and he expects they will be negative. If there is a positive result, the provincial lab will test for whether it is the Delta variant or the new Omicron variant.

Shahab notes that there have been cases elsewhere in Canada from travel from other countries, and some regions globally are detecting not just travel-related cases of the Omicron variant, but also from community transmission. The questions that remain, Dr. Shahab says, are: Is it more transmissible than Delta, does it cause more severe infection in unvaccinated people, and how well do the vaccines protect from getting the Omicron strain.


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