Officials believe omicron involved in 2 COVID-19 outbreaks linked to hockey tournaments

December 12, 2021
Officials believe omicron involved in 2 COVID-19 outbreaks linked to hockey tournaments
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Public health officials in Waterloo Region say they strongly believe two COVID-19 outbreaks linked to hockey tournaments involve the omicron variant.

In a news release on Saturday, Region of Waterloo Public Health said it is investigating the outbreaks, which officials believe may be “Omicron clusters.”

The public health unit said 11 COVID-19 cases are linked to a hockey tournament in London attended by the Hespeler Shamrocks Hockey Team, while 20 cases are linked to a hockey tournament in the Ajax and Markham area attended by the Cambridge Roadrunners.

“It is highly likely that the new Omicron variant is already here in Waterloo Region, and we expect that it will spread quickly,” Dr. Hsiu-Li Wang, Waterloo Region’s medical officer of health, said in the release.

“We know that the best defense against COVID-19 and the new Omicron variant is to get vaccinated and follow public health precautions. At this time of heightened risk, we are also advising residents to reduce non-essential social contacts.”

To determine whether the cases involve the omicron variant, officials have to submit samples for whole genome sequencing. “However, the likelihood that these are Omicron clusters is very high,” the public health unit said.

Four COVID-19 cases involving players on the Hespeler Shamrocks Team and one case involving a player on the Cambridge Roadrunners Team have screened positive for a marker that increases the chance that it is the omicron variant, the public health unit added.

Public health officials have contacted close contacts of the infected players to advise them to stay home and quarantine until they receive test results.

The public health unit urges residents to get their first or second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine as soon as possible and to get a third dose when they are eligible to avoid getting COVID-19.
 

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