Health unit confirms COVID-19 Omicron variant in London, Ont.

The Middlesex-London Health Unit confirmed Tuesday that a cluster of 40 cases of COVID-19 are the Omicron variant, along with 171 high-risk close contacts.

There are currently 40 confirmed cases in cluster

There were 542 people tested for COVID-19 at the Carling Heights assessment centre on Dec. 6, 2021. (Travis Dolynny/CBC)

The Middlesex-London Health Unit (MLHU) is reporting a cluster of COVID-19 cases have been confirmed to be the Omicron variant.

Lab results from the Ontario Public Health Laboratory using whole genome sequencing (WGS) on a sample from an individual who was part of the cluster confirmed the variant is now in Middlesex-London.

There are currently 40 confirmed COVID-19 cases associated with the cluster and 171 high-risk close contacts have been identified, according to the MLHU. The health unit says the cases are linked to two travellers from Nigeria, who arrived in London in late-November.

The Omicron variant cases are also associated with a number of schools, child care centres and a church in south London.

The London District Catholic School Board has closed three schools out of precaution, including St. Marguerite, St. Nicholas and St. Mary Choir and Orchestra schools. About 1,300 students attend the school, which are expected to re-open on Monday.

Close contacts have also been identified at two schools in the Thames Valley District School Board, but Princess Elizabeth Public in London and Delaware Public School in Delaware will remain open for now.

The health unit says all individuals are isolated and all appropriate public health follow-up is underway.