Health officials late Wednesday confirmed the first cases of the Omicron variant of COVID in Saskatchewan. Officials say a family of four has tested positive and that their close contacts have been notified and are isolating.
For confidentiality concerns the location is not being revealed.
Chief Medical Health Officer Dr. Saqib Shahab, in noting the development is comparing it to what is being seen in other provinces.
“We have had our first four cases, but throughout Canada, almost every province has reported a case or more. About 60 cases reported throughout. And so far, out of the 60-odd cases, all have been mild and there have been no hospitalizations. I think that is very reassuring.”
Officials say 154 residents are in the two-week quarantine period, since returning from a country on the restricted list. Shahab said about a third of this group has already been tested.
He added health officials will be gauging the experience of their international peers to learn more about Omicron.
“We are looking very closely at the U.K., who have 400-plus cases and rapidly increasing cases along with transmission in the U.K. So because the U.K. has similar vaccine uptake compared to us in Canada and Saskatchewan, and surveillance systems similar to us, we will be looking very closely to see in the U.K., how Omicron behaves, in terms of, is it more transmissible, is it more severe, how well do the vaccines protect, not just two doses, but the booster doses.”
Shahab expressed his confidence that they will be able to successfully detect Omicron in the province, as he says within 24-hours, the lab technicians were able to confirm the variant of concern in the four individuals.