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Carcross school site of COVID-19 outbreak; three potential exposure locations in community

Carcross residents are being asked to wear masks in all indoor public spaces due to community transmission of COVID-19.
A member of the rapid response team from Yukon government cleans the entranceway for people being tested in Carcross over the weekend. (Lawrie Crawford/Yukon News)

Carcross residents are being asked to wear masks in all indoor public spaces due to community transmission of COVID-19.

“The majority of positive cases in the past two weeks have been in Carcross, including among school aged children and their families,” said the Yukon’s acting Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Catherine Elliott on Oct. 5.

There are 12 active cases in the community as of Oct. 6.

An outbreak of COVID-19 was declared for two classrooms at Ghùch Tiâ Community School late last week, spurring deployment of the government’s rapid testing response team.

Rapid testing will take place in the community until Oct. 8.

On Oct. 4 they announced that the COVID testing response team will remain in Carcross until Oct. 8. Definitive test results from the weekend will become available over the next days.

Over the weekend, there was a flurry of local concern as people worried about grandparents and children at Haa Yátx’i Hidí (CTFN’s early childhood learning centre/daycare).

Early morning on Oct. 4 parents of children at the daycare received a letter stating that there was a case of COVID-19 affecting all childcare groups at Haa Yátx’i Hidí Daycare in Carcross attending on Oct. 1.

The letter states, “After careful analysis, we recommend that all children who attended Haa Yátx’i Hidí Daycare anytime on Oct. 1 self-isolate through Oct. 11 and then self-monitor for symptoms through Oct. 15. We also recommend that all children in this group be tested for COVID-19, if they develop symptoms no matter how mild.”

On Oct. 4, the Haa Yátx’i Hidí (CTFN’s early childhood learning centre/daycare) announced an isolation recommendation for any children in attendance on Oct. 1.

The child care facility remains open, with reduced capacity due to staff shortages incurred by isolation.

In contrast, the affected classes at Ghùch Tiâ Community School are suspended until Oct. 8 and students will return to school after Thanksgiving on Oct. 12.

Other classes continue, but if students need to stay away due to other isolating family members, work packages are being made available for students.

In addition to the classrooms for early learning/kindergarten and grades 1/2/3, there are two events that occurred on Sept. 22 that were also identified for possible exposure: a judo event as part of Carcross recreation activities, and a youth night hosted by Carcross Tagish First Nations (C/TFN).

Parents of children were notified by the school and letters also went to parents of home-schooled children who attend the judo and youth nights.

Carcross and Tagish together have one of the lower vaccination rates in the Yukon. The most recent vaccination information distributed from the government to the community is that for Carcross and Tagish the vaccine uptake numbers (out of 788 people, deemed eligible population of age 12+) that 71 per cent have received both doses.

The overall vaccination rate for Yukon (12+) is 83 per cent, and for Southeast: Watson Lake, Teslin, Johnson’s Crossing, Swift River, Tagish, Carcross is 73 per cent, according to the government website.

Contact Lawrie Crawford at