Omicron Variant detected in Alberta

The Omicron Variant of COVID-19 has been detected in an Albertan who returned to Alberta within the last week from Nigeria and the Netherlands, according to Alberta Health Services.


"We have now one confirmed case of the Omicron Variant in the Province of Alberta," Dr. Deena Hinshaw that Chief Health Officer for the Province of Alberta said in a News conference Tuesday.


According to Hinshaw the patient tested positive for the new variant while being asymptomatic, "This person has not left quarantine since their arrival from international travels.


"We have notified the individual and their household and all necessary measures are in place to prevent transmission," Hinshaw added.


Hinshaw said that AHS and her department anticipated the arrival of the new variant, " We are well prepared for this eventuality."


Alberta becomes the third province in Canada to have a confirmed case of the new COVID-19 variant. Ontario reported a cased this past weekend, while Quebec confirmed a cased on Monday.


According to the World Health Organization (WHO) it is not yet clear whether infection with Omicron causes more severe disease compared to infections with other variants, including Delta.


Preliminary data suggests that there are increasing rates of hospitalization in South Africa, but this may be due to increasing overall numbers of people becoming infected, rather than a result of specific infection with Omicron.


Hinshaw said that the single case of the new variant will not change the risk, so looking into new restrictions isn't on the table right now, "The vast vast majority of the cases in Alberta continue to be the delta variant. We know that the measures that have been put into place have been effective in slowing the spread."