The Thunder Bay District Health Unit (TBDHU) has reported the region's first cases of the COVID-19 Omicron variant.

Four cases of the variant have been confirmed, and health officials "anticipated that an additional four individuals will be confirmed as having omicron in the coming days."

The TBDHU says these cases have a direct link to South Africa, where the variant was first identified.

All individuals are in the same household and all have been isolating.

“Quick action on the part of these individuals led to very early notification of an individual with COVID-19 where omicron was a possibility due to the travel connection. Initial screening results were consistent with the delta variant, however, the confirmatory result received this weekend indicated omicron,” said Dr. Janet DeMille, Medical Officer of Health for the TBDHU in a prepared release.

“We have been working with these individuals and adopted enhanced case and contact measures right from the start with the goal of containing any ongoing spread. At this time, there is no evidence of spread outside the household."

As of Sunday, December 5, no cases of the Omicron variant have been found in the Northwestern Health Unit catchment area.