To help meet the growing demand for testing in response to the rapid spread of the Omicron variant, the Government of Yukon is providing rapid antigen tests to Yukoners with symptoms of COVID-19 free of charge.
These take-home, self-administered rapid antigen tests are available for symptomatic people who do not meet the requirements for a lab-based PCR test based on the territory’s new testing approach. Yukoners can pick up one test kit per symptomatic person in their household until 3 p.m. today at the Takhini Arena drive-thru in Whitehorse. Drive-thru pick up will be available Monday to Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.
The Government of Yukon has received 50,000 Roche rapid home tests in its first shipment from the Government of Canada. This builds on a small quantity of Abbott Panbio home tests that are being redeployed as part of the rapid testing program.
The Government of Yukon is working on a plan to make a portion of the rapid home antigen tests available to the public for non-symptomatic purposes as more shipments arrive.
The Abbott Panbio and Roche tests are rapid antigen tests approved by Health Canada for home use. They provide results within 15 minutes and are simple to use. Instructions on how to use the tests as well as guidance on how to interpret the results will be provided with the test kit.
Lab-based PCR testing is still available for populations and locations who are more vulnerable to the negative effects of COVID-19 (see backgrounder). For residents living in communities outside of Whitehorse, COVID-19 testing continues to be available at the community health centres.
If you have symptoms you should assume you have COVID-19 regardless of your test result and follow the recommendations for isolation.
If you test positive using a rapid antigen test, you should isolate for the appropriate number of days provided in the instructions. People who test positive do not need to get a PCR test unless they meet the high-risk criteria (listed in the backgrounder). It is recommended that people follow the online guidance on what to do if they get a positive COVID-19 test result, including informing close contacts that you have tested positive. Close contacts should follow the instructions on what to do if you’re told you’re a close contact.
In addition to following public health measures, vaccination increases protection against COVID-19. All eligible Yukoners are strongly encouraged to get vaccinated and receive a booster shot as soon as possible. Additional clinic appointment times have been made available at Yukon.ca/this-is-our-shot. The Vaccine Clinic in Whitehorse is open Monday to Saturday. In communities, people should contact their local health centre. Booking an appointment is strongly recommended. Walk-ins will be accommodated as much as possible.
The Government of Yukon is working with the Government of Canada to ensure rapid home test kits make it into the hands of as many Yukoners as possible. As a first step, we are pleased to provide them to people who are showing symptoms of COVID-19 who are not able to get PCR tests at this time.
Minister of Health and Social Services Tracy-Anne McPhee
I am pleased that the government will now offer rapid antigen home kits. It is important to do the right thing and stay home and away from others if you have COVID-19, even if your rapid antigen test is negative. Please check Yukon.ca for the latest information about symptoms and other information on COVID-19. As more people get boosted, we will be able to lift public health measures and have more contacts.
acting Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Catherine Elliott
Yukoners with symptoms, who are not eligible for a PCR test, can pick up a rapid home test kit at the Takhini Arena drive-thru in Whitehorse Monday to Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.
An additional shipment of tests from the federal government is expected within the next few weeks, which will be distributed as part of the next phase of the rapid antigen home-testing program.
Forging Ahead: The Yukon’s Continuing Response to COVID-19 provides the framework for how the territory will continue to manage the impacts of COVID-19.
The Government of Yukon has been using rapid molecular tests and rapid antigen tests in specific situations throughout the pandemic to support the overall public health response across the territory.
The most commonly found COVID-19 symptoms include:
- Cough (or acute exacerbation of a chronic cough)
- Shortness of breath
- Runny nose
- Sore throat
- Loss of sense of taste or smell
- Loss of appetite
- Nausea and vomiting
- Muscle aches
Less common symptoms of COVID-19 infection may include:
- Stuffy nose
- Abdominal pain
- Skin rashes
- Discoloration of fingers or toes
Who can get lab-based PCR testing:
People who are symptomatic (as above) and who meet one of the following criteria remain eligible for lab-based PCR testing:
- Unvaccinated or partially vaccinated people who are 12 years or older (have not received two doses of mRNA vaccine greater than two weeks prior to exposure)
- Residents or staff of a congregate setting:
- long-term care and residential care homes;
- correction centres;
- shelters and transition homes; and
- Patients in acute care settings
- Front line health care workers with direct patient care (for example; family physicians, nurses, dentists) and first responders
- People who are 50 years and older
- People living in communities outside of Whitehorse
- People who are pregnant
- People who have one or more risk factors for severe disease:
- obesity (BMI >30 kg/m2);
- type 1 or 2 diabetes mellitus;
- chronic respiratory disease;
- chronic kidney disease;
- cardiovascular or cerebrovascular disease;
- immunocompromised or receiving immunosuppressive therapy; and
- intellectual or developmental disabilities.