First cases of P1 COVID-19 variant confirmed in Windsor-Essex: health unit

Two cases of a new variant have been confirmed in Windsor-Essex, according to data from the health unit. 

It's unclear when the cases were identified or whether they're still active

A nurse uses a swab to perform a test on a patient. (Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press)

Two cases of a new variant have been confirmed in Windsor-Essex, according to data from the health unit.

The P1 variant is often referred to as the one first found in Brazil, though it was actually discovered in Japan in people who had travelled to Brazil.

As of Wednesday, 501 cases of P1 have been found in all of Ontario, according to data from Public Health Ontario, but these are the first cases in Windsor-Essex.

It's unclear based on the information from the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit's website when the cases came about or whether they're still active.

P1 is known to spread more quickly than the original strain. The variant has the same N501Y mutation that is found in the B117 variant first found in the U.K. and B1351 variant first found in South Africa. 

Early research suggests that P1 is 2.5 times more transmissible, but experts have said the spread in Canada could differ based on demographics, population density, climate and geography. 

The two P1 cases bring the total number of variants of concern in Windsor-Essex up to 742. 

Of these, 738 are cases of the B117 variant and 2 are cases of the B1351 variant. 

There are an additional 77 cases with preliminary positive tests for a variant of concern, according to the health unit's website. 


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