Variants

COVID-19

Overview

Variants have been identified in many countries around the world. Certain variant strains are known as variants of concern because they spread more easily than other strains, meaning they are more contagious. These new variants may also cause more severe illness. The increased spread of COVID-19 results in more illness, hospitalizations and deaths.

Variant strains are expected to continue to be identified in the future. International scientific and public health communities continue to work to understand the biological significance of these strains, including how current vaccines may help protect against them.

Several variant strains of COVID-19 have been identified in Alberta:

What We Know

Variants now make up the majority of COVID-19 cases in Alberta. Alberta is monitoring for variant strains of COVID-19 that have a higher infection rate. Refer to Alberta Health for the latest case numbers.

B.1.1.529 - also called the Omicron variant

B.1.1.7 - also called the Alpha variant

B.1.351 - also called the Beta variant

P.1 - also called the Gamma variant

B.1.617 - also called the Delta variant

Alberta Health regularly updates data on vaccine effectiveness for each variant strain.

Symptoms of COVID-19 caused by variants are the same as original COVID-19, including cough, fever, shortness of breath, runny nose, sore throat, loss of sense of taste or smell, or other symptoms.

While the variants of concern spread more easily, they spread in the same way as original COVID-19. This means the same types of preventive strategies will be effective. However, these variants can more easily take advantage of any relaxation of those preventive measures.

Reduce Your Risk & Help Prevent the Spread of COVID-19

To protect yourself and those around you, take these steps to prevent the spread of COVID-19, even if immunized:

If you test positive for COVID-19 you will receive notification of your test results. You should assume you have a variant strain of COVID-19.