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COVID outbreak at North Bay apartment building has turned deadly, involves variant

Posted: February 18, 2021

(February 17, 2021)

By: Chelsea Papineau, CTV News

SUDBURY — The North Bay Parry Sound District Health Unit has confirmed its area’s second COVID-related death, nine months after the first.

Health officials made the announcement Wednesday morning and say it is linked to the COVID-19 outbreak at North Bay’s Skyline-Lancelot Apartments that has infected 31 people to date.

The identity of the person is unknown, but the health unit said they had tested positive for a COVID-19 variant of concern (VOC).

“I offer my sincere condolences to the individual’s family and friends and my thoughts are with them during this difficult time,” said Dr. Jim Chirico, the medical officer of health for the Nipissing and Parry Sound Districts. “This is the second death within our Health Unit district associated with COVID-19. This is someone’s family member and friend. It is critical we continue to work together to help stop the spread of VOCs and COVID-19 in our region, possibly preventing future deaths.”

The North Bay Parry Sound District Health Unit remains under stay-at-home orders until at least Feb. 22 while most of the province has been allowed to reopen.

Chirico asked the province to stay under lockdown after officials confirmed the outbreak at the apartment complex involved the B.1351 variant that originated in South Africa.

The health unit tested many building residents on-site and of the 31 cases identified, 25 involved people who live there full-time while six are part-time residents or visitors. A VOC has been detected in 20 positive COVID-19 cases connected to the apartment complex, but only one strain has been identified so far.

As of Tuesday, 17 active cases due to the outbreak remain, including one person who has had to be hospitalized.

“Scientists and medical professionals are concerned that VOCs are more transmissible than the original coronavirus, and research is ongoing to determine the effectiveness of currently authorized COVID-19 vaccines against them,” the health unit said. “Therefore, individuals within the district are asked to continue taking all COVID-19 precautions seriously and to continue with these measures even once they have received the COVID-19 vaccine.”

Currently, the health unit has 28 active cases total, 21 in Nipissing and seven in Parry Sound. To date, there have been 236 COVID-19 infections and 208 of those have been resolved, including two deaths. The last COVID-related death was on May 15.

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