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Yukon’s COVID-19 cases could be plateauing, officials say

Yukon’s rate of new COVID-19 infections may be “plateauing,” according to the territory’s acting chief medical officer.

“It’s still high but we think we’re heading in the right direction,” said Dr. André Corriveau, at a Wednesday morning news conference.

As of Wednesday, the territory had 157 active cases. Six people were in hospital, Corriveau said. Since Monday, there have been 36 new cases reported, the government added.

On Friday, officials announced the territory’s 11th death from COVID-19. They have not released any information about the person who died. 

The territorial government declared a renewed state of emergency earlier this month to deal with what the premier has called an “unprecedented spike” in cases. Over the weekend, new public health restrictions came into effect, including mandatory masking and a vaccine passport system for many businesses and services.

Speaking alongside Corriveau on Wednesday, Premier Sandy Silver said the Yukon was still in an “extremely dynamic situation,” but said the territory was “not in lockdown,” despite the new emergency measures.

“These measures, including limits on gathering sizes, are to disrupt the rampant transmission,” Silver said.

Watch Wednesday’s news conference here:

Younger Yukoners continue to see relatively high rates of infection, officials said. According to Corriveau, approximately 30 per cent of the new cases in the last couple of weeks have been in the under-12 population.

Many school classrooms have been subject to exposure notices in recent weeks, though officials said on Wednesday that schools are not the problem.

“It’s important to note that in most cases, children are becoming infected from known exposures at home or in the community, and not from attendance at school,” Silver said.

“Our schools remain safe spaces for students.”

Cases connected to Teslin hockey tournament

Of the active cases on Wednesday, Corriveau said the majority — 119 cases — continue to be in Whitehorse. The rest were scattered through eight other communities: nine each in Carmacks and Watson Lake; five in Pelly Crossing; three in Teslin; two each in Carcross, Dawson City and Mayo; and one in Faro. Five cases involved non-Yukon residents. 

Corriveau also said that some of the new cases are connected to a hockey tournament in Teslin last weekend, and he suggested there may be more associated with that event. He asked anybody who was there to self-monitor for symptoms.

Corriveau also urged Yukoners to observe the new public health restrictions, which he referred to as a “circuit-breaker.”

yukons covid 19 cases could be plateauing officials say
The majority of the territory’s active cases are in Whitehorse. (Paul Tukker/CBC)

“The intention is to keep these enhanced measures in place for the shortest possible time and only as required,” he said.

“I think if we stick together during this short period, we will succeed and be able to resume life as close to normal, shortly.”

The new restrictions will be in place until at least Dec. 3, officials have said.  

As of Monday, 85 per cent of eligible Yukoners had received their second shot of the vaccine while 90 per cent had received one shot.

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