Updates to self-isolation recommendations and lab-based PCR testing eligibility for COVID-19

The Yukon government is updating case and contact management and lab-based PCR testing guidelines for COVID-19 following recommendations from the Office of the Chief Medical Officer of Health.

Effective immediately, the following changes are in effect:

  • vaccination status no longer impacts the self-isolation period for cases;
  • a risk reduction period is recommended following self-isolation;
  • contacts should self- monitor for symptoms and do not need to self-isolate; and
  • lab-based PCR testing eligibility criteria are the same throughout the territory.

All Yukoners, regardless of vaccination status, who have tested positive for COVID-19 are recommended to self-isolate for:

  • seven days if they are not immunocompromised, followed by three days of risk reduction.
  • ten days if they are moderately or severely immunocompromised, followed by 10 days of risk reduction.

Risk reduction means wearing a mask in public settings, avoiding activities where masks cannot be worn, and avoiding visiting people who are immunocompromised, at high-risk of illness, or in high-risk settings such as long-term care homes, hospitals, health care centres, shelters and the correctional centre. This does not prevent people who work in high-risk settings from working during this period.

Yukoners can leave isolation once they have completed the recommended self-isolation period if:

  • they have had no fever for 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medication; and
  • other symptoms have been improving for 24 hours, or 48 hours if experiencing gastrointestinal symptoms such as vomiting or diarrhea.

If a Yukoner has tested positive using an at-home rapid antigen test, a negative test is not required to leave isolation if all the above listed conditions have been met.

Due to the high rate of community-level transmission occurring in the Yukon, the isolation of contacts does not significantly reduce the rate of spread in our communities. As such, it is now recommended that all contacts, regardless of vaccination status, monitor for symptoms for 14 days after exposure from a confirmed case of COVID-19.  Self-isolation for contacts is no longer recommended.

The Omicron wave of COVID-19 has led to lower hospitalization rates and less severe outcomes. Combined with a high rate of vaccination across the territory, most Yukoners can now safely manage their illness at home. Confirmatory lab-based PCR testing will not impact the outcome of the infection for the majority of people, so this type of testing is no longer recommended for all individuals.

Lab-based PCR testing will continue to be available for Yukoners who are at risk of getting very sick from COVID-19 or those who work in high-risk settings. This includes front line healthcare workers; people and staff in congregate living settings; Yukoners who are over 50 years of age; pregnant people; those who are at risk of severe disease; and people who are unvaccinated or partially unvaccinated Yukoners.

Yukoners who are at higher risk of severe outcomes should continue to work with their healthcare provider, local healthcare centre, or in urgent cases, the nearest emergency department to discuss their COVID-19 treatment.

Vaccines and recommended booster doses remain the best protection against serious or severe outcomes related to COVID-19. To book an appointment, visit Yukon.ca/appointments.

We are moving forward with updated guidance on self-isolation and testing requirements for Yukoners as a part of the Yukon’s ongoing response and recovery from the pandemic. The updated guidance will help ensure that we continue to protect vulnerable people in our community from severe illness while reducing the impact these measures have on the lives of Yukoners. 

Minister of Health and Social Services Tracy-Anne McPhee

Most people can manage their illness at home and a diagnostic level lab-based PCR test is not necessary as it will not impact their treatment or the outcome of their infection. Yukoners do not need a test to do the right thing and stay home when they are feeling sick. As we continue the re-opening process, help others stay healthy and respect their comfort levels and boundaries.

Medical Officer of Health Dr. Paul Hasselback

Contact 

Renée Francoeur
Cabinet Communications
867-334-9194
renee.francoeur@yukon.ca

 

Samantha Henney
Communications, Health and Social Services
867-332-8321
samantha.henney@yukon.ca

News release #: 
22-193