Residents of a Mississauga condominium were tested on Tuesday after five cases of the South African COVID-19 variant were discovered in the building.

The building has been identified by CityTowers Property Management Inc., its property management company, as Chicago Condominiums at 385 Prince of Wales Dr.

The building’s management company told a media outlet that they were first contacted about the variant cases on Saturday and have been assisting Peel Public Health with their investigation since then.

According to Dr. Lawrence Loh, Peel Region’s medical officer of health, floor-by-floor testing was made available for residents on Monday “out of an abundance of caution” and to prevent any further rapid spread of the B1351 variant. 

In a statement issued on Sunday the Region of Peel said, “We are taking this urgent step now while community spread of this variant is still low.”

“As we begin to see variants of concern spread within the community, we are at a critical point in the pandemic response as these variants have the ability to erase the progress we have made as a community, added Dr. Loh. “It is imperative that residents continue to follow the guidelines of Public Health and limit interactions with others so that we can stop the (sic) spread.” 

Loh said 1,800 people are affected — including residents and staff at the condominium — and they have received a letter from Peel Public Health to make them aware of the situation.

The 5 cases did not have a travel link and Peel’s top doctor expressed concerns that the variant could have spread through common elements in the building such as corridors and elevators.

Mississauga Mayor Bonnie Crombie told CP24 that there are a total of eight COVID-19 cases at the building, including the five variant cases.

Residents of the condominium were given the option of availing of the floor-by-floor testing on Monday or attending a testing centre in the community.

The province’s first case of the B1351 variant was detected on February 1, in a Mississauga man likely to have been infected through community transmission, said officials.

 

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