NORTH BAY -- The COVID-19 outbreak at the Skyline-Lancelot Apartments in North Bay has grown to 21 people, including 19 residents and two visitors to the building.

And Dr. Jim Chirico, medical officer of health for the North Bay Parry Sound District Health Unit, told reporters Tuesday at least three of the cases involve a variant of the COVID strain.

It's "highly likely" more cases will turn out to be the variant, Chirico said, some of which are more infectious than the original COVID virus. The exact variant strain has not yet been determined.

He also said one of the COVID cases is connected to the closure of Sunset Park Public School.

For residents of the apartment building, it's an upsetting time,

'It's really scary'

“It’s really scary and it shows that management wasn’t taking it seriously enough, the people who live here weren’t taking it seriously enough," resident Jessica Vaughn told CTV News. "I’m really not happy about it.”

On Sunday, the health unit conducted on-site COVID tests for about 110 of the 130 residents who live in the 98-unit building. Skyline officials said extra measures have been put in place, including on-site security.

“Our tenants want to know that we’re limiting unnecessary traffic into the building and so the security guard is put in place just to monitor traffic, make sure deliveries are not going into the building unnecessarily,” said BJ Santavy, Skyline Living vice-president.

North Bay Mayor Al McDonald said the unknowns surrounding the outbreak are concerning.

“From what I can gather and understand, the residents aren’t even mixing, so is it in the hallways? Is it in the walls? Is it just in the air system? Who knows?" McDonald said. "But what we do know is that it’s been concentrated there.”

The health unit has also extended the city’s stay home order until at least Feb. 16, but with many questions still left to be answered, they are urging people to follow the rules, wear masks and stay home.

"We need to get a handle on the local COVID situation before we reopen," Chirico said.