SASKATOON -- The Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA) is warning of an increased risk of COVID-19 Variants of Concern in Lloydminster.

The SHA is strongly encouraging residents to avoid gatherings, keep two metres away from people while in public and wear a mask, keep to your household bubble, avoid unnecessary travel, work from home if possible, and to stay home and get tested if experiencing symptoms of COVID-19.

Variants of Concern are dangerous as they are highly contagious and can result in more illness, hospitalizations and deaths. Many of the people falling ill are much younger than previously seen during the pandemic, according to the SHA.

The SHA is reminding people that COVID-19 and its variants are transmitted through coughing and sneezing, and by touching surfaces with the virus on it and then touching your mouth, nose or eyes before washing your hands.