Public health reports first case of Brazilian COVID-19 variant

Mercer: 'There can be no doubt – this is a dangerous time'

WELLINGTON COUNTY – Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health (WDGPH) officials are reporting the first local case of the Brazilian COVID-19 variant and urging residents to take all possible precautions to protect themselves.

“There can be no doubt – this is a dangerous time,” stated Medical Officer of Health Dr. Nicola Mercer in an April 16 letter to residents in the region.

“If you have been relaxed about public health measures up until now, please change, for the sake of your family and loved ones.”

WDGPH spokesperson Danny Williamson confirmed the first identified local case of the Brazilian (P1) variant was found in neighbouring Dufferin County.

The announcement comes the same day the province unveiled more strict public health measures after the latest modelling showed the third wave could continue throughout the summer without increased restrictions.

Also on Friday:

  • WDGPH set a new high with 634 active cases in the region;
  • Wellington County set a new high with 119 active cases;
  • the region’s COVID-19 indicators continued to balloon to new heights (165.4 case rate per 100,000 people and 6.6% test positivity rate); and
  • 12 COVID-19 patients are hospitalized in the region, including seven in intensive care units at either Guelph General Hospital or Headwaters Health Care in Orangeville (county hospitals do not have ICUs).


“This wave of the pandemic is like nothing we have experienced during the past year,” Mercer stated.

“Make no mistake: COVID-19 variants of concern move more easily between people and increase the risk of debilitating illness or death – especially among those from age 20 to 40.”

She added, “Projections show us how bad the situation could get if we don’t change our behaviours. Projections also show hope on the horizon as vaccines continue to arrive.

“Other countries have proven that if we can get 75 per cent of the population vaccinated, we can get our lives back. We all want this to be over soon. We all want the people we love the most to be here when it does end.”

Mercer said she is imploring all local residents to adhere to the following measures during the province’s current stay-at-home order:

  • only leave your home for work, exercise or the most essential reasons;
  • always wear a mask around others;
  • ensure physical distancing (two metres) whenever you go outside your home;
  • pre-register for the vaccine so you can be notified when it is your turn to be vaccinated; and
  • “above all” – do not get together indoors with friends or family.

“I know this pandemic has already forced you to sacrifice so much,” said Mercer.

“I know each of you is exhausted by what you’ve been through and fearful of what still lies ahead. But, I am afraid we must follow this strict behaviour for one more month.”

To pre-register for the COVID-19 vaccine visit