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Public health agency reports spike in confirmed cases of Delta variant

Last Updated Jun 18, 2021 at 4:38 pm EDT

Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam listens to a question during a news conference, Tuesday, January 12, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

OTTAWA — The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases attributed to the highly contagious Delta variant jumped 66 per cent in Canada this week.

Canada’s chief public health officer Dr. Theresa Tam says as of Friday more than 2,000 cases of the variant have now been confirmed across all 10 provinces and in one territory.

Just three days ago, the Public Health Agency told The Canadian Press there were 1,187 confirmed cases.

The variant was first identified in India but has now become the dominant strain in the United Kingdom where it is spreading rapidly, mostly among unvaccinated people.

It is believed to be at least 1.5 times as contagious as the Alpha variant first identified in the U.K. which is, for now, the dominant variant in Canada.

Tam says the variant is a concern because one dose of vaccine isn’t as effective against it and it underscores the need for Canada to keep picking up the pace on second doses.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 18, 2021.

The Canadian Press