The Public Health Department at CBHSSJB is monitoring a new variant of concern known as the Omicron variant.
The Omicron variant was first identified by South African researchers last week, and since then has been identified in several other countries. The first two cases of the Omicron variant in Canada were confirmed in Ottawa over the weekend.
Based on the world’s previous experience with other emerging variants, it is expected that the Omicron variant will be identified in more places in coming days and weeks.
We are still learning about this new variant. As it happened with some other variants (like Alpha and Delta), scientists have raised early concerns that Omicron could be more contagious, and that immunity from vaccination and from previous infections may not be as strong.
At this point there is not enough data to know whether or not these concerns will turn out to be true. The Cree Health Board continues to follow emerging scientific knowledge on Omicron as it develops. We will continue to share information as we know more.
Canada, along with many other countries, has put in new travel restrictions to try to slow down the spread of the variant. The travel restrictions affect people who recently visited several countries in southern Africa.
Public Health would like to remind everyone in Eeyou Istchee that the Delta variant is still the dominant variant in Quebec.
Vaccination is still the strongest layer of protection available to people, including children.
Additional layers of protection, like wearing a mask when required, physical distancing from people who don’t live with you, handwashing, and screening tests will also continue to be part of keeping ourselves, and our communities, safe.
People travelling to other regions should continue to be cautious while they’re on the road and away.
These precautionary measures and tools, when combined together, have worked to protect Eeyou Istchee’s communities and its members, whether they are at home, or are travelling to other regions.