Toronto Public Health (TPH) is announcing a COVID-19 outbreak believed to be linked to the B.1.1.7 variant.
The outbreak occurred at a meat production facility, Belmont Meats, in Toronto. Currently, there are 78 confirmed COVID-19 cases linked to this outbreak. Of these confirmed cases, two have screened positive for the B.1.1.7 variant. There is also evidence of secondary transmission of the variant in household member cases associated with an employee of the workplace. At this time, there is no indication that any cases identified in the outbreak had recently travelled or had contact with a person who travelled recently.
TPH has issued a letter to all cases and contacts informing them that the U.K. variant has been identified in cases from this outbreak and providing direction on public health management including isolation and testing. Belmont Meats voluntarily closed on January 28th, 2021. TPH began its investigation on January 26th, after notification of a possible outbreak. The company does not have public-facing operations.
At present, known variants of the novel coronavirus are believed to be more transmissible. This increases the risk the COVID-19 virus will spread between people. Faster and wider spread of the virus makes it more likely to have higher numbers of people sick, which can increase strain on the health care system. In this context, all Torontonians are asked with renewed urgency to keep contact as much as possible to those you live with, and to limit contact as much as possible with those you don’t live with. If you must have contact with people outside of your home, take these steps to make these interactions as low-risk as possible: reduce the amount time spent in non-essential contact, keep a distance from others of at least six feet or two metres, wear a well-fitting mask, wash your hands often and stay at home if you are feeling ill.
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