COVID-19 cases impacting three rural community schools

There are now three rural schools impacted by COVID-19 – two in Watson Lake and one in Carcross. Letters advising self-monitoring or self-isolation have been sent to staff and students in Grades 1, 4 and 5 at Johnson Elementary School, Grade 10 students at Watson Lake Senior Secondary in Watson Lake and students in Kindergarten and Grade 1, 2 and 3 split class at Ghùch Tiâ Community School in Carcross as a result of positive COVID-19 cases associated with each of those classes. All three schools remain open.

The Yukon’s acting Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Catherine Elliott has provided specific direction to students and staff, based on risk assessments completed by Yukon Communicable Disease Control. The direction differs for older students and staff based on vaccination status and all elementary students have been asked to self isolate.

There are currently 37 active cases of COVID-19 in the territory, with six confirmed cases identified over the weekend. Cases are in Whitehorse, Carcross and Dawson City.  

The outbreak at Copper Ridge Place has been officially declared over. This outbreak was limited to the two initial cases, with no further transmission in Copper Ridge Place.

We continue to respond to COVID-19 where and when it occurs in the Yukon. I am pleased that the first long-term care home outbreak in the Yukon was limited and that the two people involved have recovered. Now we are seeing infections in school children, and it reminds us all that when children develop symptoms of COVID-19 they too must isolate away from others and get tested.  It takes many days for a child, even with mild symptoms, to stop being able to infect others. That is why testing is important to know when it is safe for children to return to school.

Acting Chief Medical Officer of Health Catherine Elliott

Backgrounder 

Public exposure notice

The acting Chief Medical Officer of Health has issued the following public exposure notice:

  • Air North flight (4N554)
    Monday, September 20, 2021
    Vancouver to Whitehorse
    Departure: 1:35 p.m.;  arrival: 3:59 p.m.

This is considered a low risk exposure and everyone on this flight is asked to self-monitor for symptoms for 14 days, until Monday, October 4, and to arrange for testing if they develop any symptoms.

Testing and vaccines

The acting Chief Medical Officer of Health is reminding everyone who has symptoms to get tested, no matter where they are located. A rapid response testing team is in Watson Lake holding testing clinics daily from Monday, September 27 until Wednesday, September 29, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. People who tested negative prior to Friday, September 17, 2021, are being asked to get re-tested while the team is in the community.

All staff and students in the Grade 5 class are being asked to be tested, regardless of symptoms or vaccination status. People who tested negative prior to Friday, September 17, 2021, are being asked to get re-tested while the team is in the community. Those people who are isolating, should remain on isolation the entire time, even if they receive a negative test result. This testing may have occurred during an early period of infection when there is too little virus to detect, and these people could become sick later. Please follow the guidelines for isolation and self-monitoring regardless of a negative test.

Vaccine clinics will be held at the Watson Lake Health Centre on October 1, 8 and 15 from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m. Phone the health centre at 867-536-5255 for more information or to book. Walk-ins welcome.

Anyone experiencing symptoms in Whitehorse should call the COVID-19 Testing and Assessment Centre at 867-393-3083 or book online to arrange for testing.

People in communities should contact their rural community health centre to arrange for testing.

Contact 

Pat Living
Communications, Health and Social Services
867-335-1531
patricia.living@yukon.ca

News release #: 
21-363