Health service changes variant of categorization of concerns


No new cases resolved; 525 additional doses of vaccine administered

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Don’t worry when you see the “jump” in disturbing variations on the North Bay Parry Sound District Health Unit website.

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Dr Carol Zimbalatti, a public health physician in the health unit, said the increase is due to a change in how the local health unit will now classify VOCs.

VOCs are viruses that have changed from their original form or have mutated.

Currently there are officially three types of VOCs identified in Ontario – B.1.1.7 first identified in the UK, B.1.351 first identified in South Africa and the P.1 variant first identified times in Brazil.

Zimbalatti said the change will be more aligned with how the province reports and categorizes its VOCs.

“The new method better matches the way the provincial lab tests for VOCs. VOCs are identified in two steps: the first step is to look for mutations and the second step, genomic sequencing, is only performed if a sample is positive for mutations other than the single mutation from the UK. “

Zimbalatti said before Thursday that cases were prioritized as VOCs originating in the UK on the health service dashboard only if identified by full genomic sequencing.

“As of today, cases with a positive result for the N501Y mutation and a negative E484K result will also be classified as a VOC from UK. This is based on provincial best practice.”

Zimbalatti said the change means a number of cases that were previously classified as preliminary positive VOCs on the health service scorecard will be reclassified as VOCs originating in the UK.

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“As in the rest of the province, cases with a VOC originating in the UK now represent the highest proportion of VOCs locally. VOCs from Brazil and South Africa will require step two before confirming them on the health unit dashboard.

CASES AND VACCINES

As of Thursday, the health service had recorded a total of 66 existing cases identified as the variant originating in the UK, including 35 in the Nipissing district and 27 as the variant originating in South Africa, all in the Nipissing district.

This is compared to Wednesday, when the health unit reported six existing cases as a variant first identified in the UK, including three each in the districts of Nipissing and Parry Sound.

Meanwhile, there are currently 13 existing cases, including 12 in the Nipissing District, which remain classified as preliminary positive.

At the same time, the health unit has not reported any new or resolved cases.

There remain 22 active cases, including three in the District of Nipissing and 19 in the District of Parry Sound. Each district has one hospitalized person.

Another 295 tests were performed the day before, bringing the health unit’s total to date to 121,718.

The health unit administered an additional 525 doses of COVID-19 vaccine, bringing its total to date to 47,201.

This includes the first and second doses given to residents and non-residents during immunization events in the health unit area.

There are now 48,221 residents with at least one dose of vaccine, representing 44 percent of the health unit’s adult population. This may include residents who received a dose outside of the health unit district.

Of these, almost all, or 43 percent, only get a single dose.


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