Early sign of community transmission of Omicron variant in the Yukon, new recommendations introduced

A significant increase in active cases of COVID-19 is an early sign of community transmission of the variant of concern, Omicron, in the Yukon.

There were 34 new active cases of COVID-19 reported this morning.  

We are now seeing community transmission of Omicron variant in the Yukon. This variant is highly transmissible and we are seeing spread in household gatherings, workplaces and organized events and among vaccinated and unvaccinated people. This is expected because even though the vaccine prevents some infections and many hospitalizations, it cannot prevent all of them. The Omicron variant has caused very high case counts across Canada and we can expect that in the Yukon. The goal remains to prevent severe outcomes and limit health system strain.

To limit the spread of Omicron, beginning immediately, it is strongly recommended that all close contacts of people who have tested positive for COVID-19 isolate for seven days if the close contact has not received their booster shot. A close contact is anyone who was within six feet (two metres) for a combined total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period while someone is in their infectious period. It is also strongly recommended that people who are fully vaccinated with a booster should avoid close contact with a confirmed case. Following the seven-day period of isolation, if no symptoms present, those contacts may leave isolation but should continue self-monitoring for seven more days because they may start experiencing symptoms of Omicron in that second seven-day period.

Omicron incubates quickly and transmits early, even among the vaccinated population, and many provinces and territories in Canada have recently changed their approaches to isolation of contacts, with the arrival of Omicron.

In addition to being vaccinated, it is strongly recommended that Yukoners continue to combine limiting their contacts and following the Safe 6 plus 1: keep your distance; keep your hands clean; if you feel sick, stay home; avoid crowds; avoid travelling to communities; self-isolate if necessary; and wear a mask.

A sudden jump in COVID-19 cases is a clear sign of community transmission of the Omicron variant in the Yukon. Transmission occurs when people are close to each other but with Omicron it happens faster and to more people than with Delta. This is the time to keep gatherings limited to two households and small numbers and cancel any gatherings that are larger.

acting Chief Medical Officer of Heath Dr. Catherine Elliott

Quick facts 
  • Community transmission means, simply, that cases cannot be traced to contact with someone who is known to have COVID-19. People should assume that if they have symptoms they may have been exposed and be infected with COVID-19.

  • The full series of the COVID-19 vaccine decreases the risk of severe illness and hospitalization but does not prevent people from becoming infected and transmission of the virus.

Contact 

Andrew Robulack
Communications, Health and Social Services
867-335-6040
andrew.robulack@yukon.ca

News release #: 
21-494