Nova Scotia and Newfoundland and Labrador are now reporting cases of the XBB.1.5 variant of the virus that causes COVID-19, reflecting a spread being reported around the globe.
Nova Scotia Health and Wellness confirmed the presence today of the variant — also known as Kraken — while Newfoundland and Labrador’s Health Department issued a release Thursday confirming its first case.
Spokespeople for health departments in the two provinces have said there’s so far no indication the sub-variant causes more severe illness than earlier mutations.
However, they say it is the most transmissible strain to date of the SARS-CoV-2 virus.
Prior mutations are still circulating and causing illness and death around the region.
Nova Scotia’s main health agency reported a total of 20 COVID-19 deaths in its first update of 2023, with one of the deaths occurring between Dec. 20 and Jan. 2, and the remaining 19 deaths from an unspecified time period.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 6, 2023