Saskatchewan identifies first cases of COVID-19 variant in Regina area

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REGINA — Saskatchewan has identified its first cases of a COVID-19 variant.

Health officials said Tuesday the strain that originated in the United Kingdom was found in two residents from in and around Regina. One had travelled from the U.K. and the other was a close contact.

They were tested in mid-January.

The province said both people quarantined and are no longer infectious. Their other contacts were notified and it's believed there was no further transmission.

The government also said it's assessing what effect COVID-19 variants could have on the spread of the virus and whether current public health measures should be tightened.

Experts have said COVID-19 variants from the U.K. and South Africa are more contagious, and their numbers have been growing fast across Canada.

Earlier Tuesday, Canada's chief public health officer, Dr. Theresa Tam, said Canada is in "a very delicate period," with at least 148 cases of the variants confirmed across the country.

Also on Tuesday, Saskatchewan reported 223 new cases of COVID-19 and eight more deaths due to the virus, bringing the death toll in the province to 314.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 2, 2021.

The Canadian Press