SUDBURY -- The North Bay Parry Sound District Health Unit has received lab confirmation that two people in the district of Parry Sound have tested positive for one of the COVID-19 variants.

The B.1.1.7 variant, first reported in the United Kingdom, is the second of the so-called variants of concern reported in the health unit's coverage area. Several people infected at the outbreak at the Skyline-Lancelot Apartments in North Bay tested positive for the B. variant, which was first reported in South Africa.

The two people who tested positive for the UK variant were exposed through community spread, the health unit said, meaning the individuals did not know where they caught the virus.

“We now have confirmation of two different strains of COVID-19 variants of concern in our health unit district, Dr. Jim Chirico, medical officer of health, said in a news release Tuesday.

"This is very concerning as we are seeing community spread … We must all do what we can to help slow the spread of COVID-19 in our community to help save lives and to be able to re-open our economy. It is essential we continue to follow public health measures.”

There are still a lot of unknowns surrounding COVID-19 variants, but evidence shows that the variant originating from the UK can be significantly more transmissible than the original coronavirus strain causing COVID-19.

If you think you may have COVID-19 symptoms or have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive, first self-isolate and then use Ontario's Self-Assessment Tool to see if you need to seek testing or further care. If you need further assistance, call your health care provider or the Health Unit at 1-800-563-2808. If you have severe symptoms, such as difficulty breathing, you should call 911 and mention your symptoms if you are able.

For more information, visit