The Yukon has confirmed 33 active COVID-19 cases on June 15. (file photo)

The Yukon has confirmed 33 active COVID-19 cases on June 15. (file photo)

‘It is now more important than ever to get vaccinated’: Yukon jumps to 33 active COVID-19 cases

The Yukon has confirmed 12 new cases of COVID-19 overnight, according to Acting Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Catherine Elliott.

Elliott issued a press release updating case numbers on June 15.

The Yukon now has 33 active COVID-19 cases — the highest number the territory has seen.

Ten of the 12 cases are in Whitehorse, and two are in rural communities. All cases are linked to one previous Whitehorse case.

Only one individual in the most recent group of cases was vaccinated, according to health officials. Of the 36 cases diagnosed since June 4, only two were vaccinated in total.

Elliott is strongly recommending that anyone not yet vaccinated should make an appointment at either the mass clinic in Whitehorse or at a rural health centre.

“It is now more important than ever to get vaccinated,” said Elliott in a statement. “The science shows that our best shot at protection is full vaccination. We also protect ourselves and others by practicing the Safe 6 plus 1.”

The outbreak involves three groups: graduating Whitehorse high school students and close contacts; two classes at Elijah Smith Elementary School; and adults socializing at parties and in bars.

Specific guidance has been given to all student groups and parents, the Yukon government says.

Positive cases range in age from 10 to 40 years old. All 12 of the new cases are the Gamma (P.1) variant.

“The events of the past 11 days are deeply concerning, we are seeing the effects of COVID-19 in a way we have not before seen in Yukon, and we are all touched by this in one way or another,” Elliott said.

“It is important now to recognize that since this pandemic began, we have worked hard together to keep ourselves and our loved ones safe. We know how to do this. Vaccine plus continued adherence to the Safe 6 plus masking is our way back to a good place.”

(Gabrielle Plonka)