LHe National Institute of Public Health of Quebec is reassuring. The most recent data from the organization shows that the proportion of the contagious Delta variant, present in the province since last April, is still “very low”.
“We estimate the presence of the Delta variant at around 3% currently, which is very minimal compared to Great Britain,” said INSPQ spokesperson Sybille Jussome. Elsewhere in the world, notably in England, the Delta variant was the engine of the fourth wave.
In ten regions, a total of 183 cases of this variant recognized for the “explosive” nature of its transmission have been identified in Quebec. Two of them have recently appeared in the Capitale-Nationale, which previously had none.
Thus, the variant of British emergence, says Alpha, continues to dominate, since it represents the majority of cases. “We have fewer than a thousand positive cases for COVID-19 per week currently. It’s not a lot, explains the spokesperson. Of these, between 80 and 90% are Alpha variants (B.1.1.7) ”.
For the rest, the infections are divided between other variants qualified as “of concern” by the INSPQ, mainly Beta (Brazil) and Gamma (South Africa).
Vaccinate to “prevent its rise”
Even if it remains relatively little present in Quebec, the Delta variant continues to be the subject of enhanced surveillance by public health authorities. There are many cases of this variant in the neighboring province of Quebec, Ontario, where more than 2,750 cases have been found to date. The border of Ontario and Quebec has reopened since mid-June.
The Dre Theresa Tam, Canada’s chief public health officer, said nearly a month ago that a single dose of the vaccine was not as effective against Delta. A significant wave of COVID-19 could occur in the event of the predominance of the Delta variant, suggest modeling work carried out in the country.
“It is indeed important to adequately vaccinate as many people as possible to prevent the rise of this variant or of other worrying variants in Quebec,” recalls the Institut national de santé publique du Quebec.
Barely more than a week ago, the Minister of Health Christian Dubé announced the reduction to four weeks of the interval between the two doses of vaccine. A recent opinion from the Quebec Immunization Committee recommends it.
“The Delta variant has appeared and is currently circulating in Quebec. Due to its high contagiousness, it is possible that it will quickly become the predominant variant in Quebec, like what has been observed in several other jurisdictions ”, we can read.
How to find him?
Since they arrived in Quebec, the worrisome variants predominate in cases of infections. At the end of May, for example, they represented more than 95% of them.
Then, in the week of July 4, the percentage of variant positivity dropped to 80.7%, the lowest rate since mid-April. In screening, the step which aims to analyze positive samples, over 19% of the tests came out negative. They therefore did not present mutations common to the Alpha, Beta and Gamma variants.
However, there is nothing to be happy about this drop in variant cases identified in the last week, because “for the moment, the Delta variant samples have obtained a negative result in the screening”, indicates the INSPQ on its website.
“A screening strategy for the delta variant is under development,” it adds.
Currently, the detection of Delta must indeed go through a second screening in order to detect the mutations specific to the variant that have emerged in India. “When one or two mutations are identified, the samples are sequenced, which makes it possible to precisely identify its lineage,” says spokesperson Sybille Jussome. With Élisabeth Fleury