Montreal Public Health authorities have confirmed 14 cases of the COVID-19 omicron variant have been detected in the city.
Of the 14 infections, five may be linked to people who travelled outside the country, while it is believed the other nine were infected in Canada, suggesting “limited local transmission.”
Spokesperson Jean Nicolas Aubé said two individuals, who did not know at the time that they were COVID-19 positive, visited a gym in the West Island and community centre in LaSalle.
Therefore, anyone who was at Buzzfit Kirkland, located at 3240 Jean-Yves Duclos St. in Kirkland between 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. on Dec. 1, 5 or 6, is asked to get tested even if they aren’t exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms and are adequately vaccinated. Similarly, anyone who was the Centre culturel et communautaire Henri-Lemieux, at 7644 Édouard St. on Dec. 4 between noon and 2 p.m. should get tested.
Affected individuals are asked to get tested at the mobile screening unit in the parking lot of the Jewish General Hospital at the intersection of Bourret Avenue and Légaré Street or the CLSC Park extension at 7085 Hutchison Street. According to Aubé, those are the only two facilities equipped to measure and identify the Omicron variant.
If people aren’t able to make their way to either of the two screening clinics, they can go to a local testing centre and mention that they may have been exposed to the Omicron variant.
“But be sure to let them know that you’re going there because of this specific action that we’re doing today,” Aubé said, adding people can book an appointment by logging on to the Quebec government website and mentioning Montreal Public Health.
Montreal Public Health said last week it would adopt a preventative approach to COVID-19 infections involving the Omicron variant, including aggressive protocols for isolating cases and tracing contacts.
“We know that the Omircon variant spreads very quickly, but we don’t know the severity of it,” Aubé said.
“So as we learn more and more about this variant, I guess our approach will adjust and change. But until we know more, we will maintain this very suppressive approach.”
Preliminary information cited by public health suggests the Omicron variant is 2 to 3.5 times more transmissible than the Delta variant, with an increased risk of reinfection.
In addition to asking people to get tested, Aubé urged Montrealers who aren’t already, to get vaccinated.
“Go get your vaccine and respect these simple rules we’ve said 1,000 times: Keep your distance, wash your hands… it’s the thing to do.”
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