WINDSOR, ONT. -- Windsor-Essex medical officer of health Dr. Wajid Ahmed says the first case of a COVID-19 variant has been detected in the region.

The Windsor-Essex County Health Unit is letting the public know that there is a potential exposure risk since the person went to the Zehrs grocery store in Tecumseh on Feb. 2 between 12 p.m. and 2 p.m.

“This case, during the infectious period, but was not symptomatic at that time, went to a grocery store in Tecumseh,” says Ahmed. “While the risk is low, but due to the variant of concern, we want to share the information more broadly with the community.”

Anyone who visited that store during that time is being asked to monitor for symptoms and immediately contact the health unit if they develop symptoms. WECHU will provide further instructions based on the case investigation.

Many of the COVID-19 variants are reportedly more contagious than the original version.

“This is a good reminder that while our case rates are stabilizing and showing a downward trend, it can change,” says Ahmed. “Every time any virus is given more opportunities to replicate, the likelihood of mutation increases and the mutated virus can be more dangerous than the original virus.”

The variant was detected in Windsor-Essex using the rapid screening. It is still being tested to see which variant it is. Ahmed says the testing could take a week or two.

Ahmed is urging the public to continue to follow public health measures to help prevent the spread.