York Region Public Health is reporting the first regional case of the COVID-19 Omicron variant today.
The region said the case is from a youth under 12 years old from the City of Vaughan. They had travelled to the southern Africa region, returning to Canada Nov. 22 and have been isolating at home since.
Public health said it is following up on all close contacts, who are also isolating at home.
“We should expect to see the number of Omicron variant cases rise across York Region,” medical officer of health Dr. Barry Pakes said in a news release. “Our best protection against COVID-19 and the variants of concern remains vaccination. If you are eligible for your first, second or third vaccine, I strongly urge you to get it.”
Canada reported its first cases of the Omicron variant Nov. 28, which has begun to spread throughout the country. The impacts of the variant are still being evaluated globally to better understand the implications on vaccine efficacy and transmission.
"While there is some evidence the Omicron variant is more transmissible than the Delta variant, there is also emerging evidence mRNA vaccines used in Ontario are still very effective for Omicron," the region said.
Pakes said earlier this week it could take some time to determine the scope of the threat of Omicron, but the region is ready to detect any cases as they emerge. The region said it is working with Public Health Ontario labs for augmented case and contact management.
Meanwhile, the province has announced eligibility for third-dose booster COVID-19 vaccines are expanding to those 50 and older starting Dec. 13, as more Omicron cases are found in the province.
The region said it urges the public to follow public health measures, including masking and staying at home when feeling unwell.
For more information on protocols or to book a vaccination appointment, you can visit york.ca/COVID19Vaccine