SUDBURY -- The North Bay Parry Sound District Health Unit has received confirmation from Public Health Ontario labs that 12 COVID-19 cases at a North Bay apartment building outbreak are a variant that was first reported in South Africa.

Formally known as COVID variant B., all 12 are connected to the outbreak at Skyline-Lancelot Apartments.

As of today, 42 people have tested positive at the building. Three cases are still considered active and two individuals have died.

“It is now clear that we have an outbreak of the COVID-19 (variant of concern) that emerged from South Africa,” Dr. Jim Chirico, medical officer of health, said in a news release.

“Although it was expected that there were more cases of the VOC originating from South Africa, it is concerning due to how contagious this variant is. It is critical that residents of Lancelot and other multi-unit dwellings continue to follow public health measures to help stop the spread of COVID-19 and its variants.”

Residents living in multi-unit dwellings are reminded to:

- stay home and only leave for essential reasons;

- wash or sanitize hands often, especially after returning to their unit;

- maintain two metres from anyone outside their unit, especially in shared spaces like laundry rooms;

- only ride the elevator with other tenants if you can stand two metres;

- wear a face covering when unable to keep two metres apart;

- cover coughs and sneezes;

- follow all COVID-19 precautions put in place by building management.

The health unit will make the public aware when the Skyline - Lancelot Apartment outbreak is declared over, the release said.

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