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Rapid test availability expands for Whitehorse residents

Changes also coming for lab-based PCR testing, which will need an appointment
Yukon government employee Liam White checks for symptoms at the Takhini Arena rapid-test distribution centre on Jan 14. (Haley Ritchie/Yukon News file)

At-home rapid tests kits will be available this week at the Takhini Arena and the Centennial Motors drive-thru location across from the Erik Nielsen International Airport.

The Yukon government announced the change on Feb. 15, after a pop-up event on Feb. 12 allowed city residents to pick up packages of tests for use without symptoms.

The Takhini Arena is open Monday to Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. The Centennial Motors drive-thru is open seven days a week from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

On Feb. 21, the Takhini Arena distribution site will close and a new walk-up location for at-home rapid test distribution will open in the north parking lot of the Visitor Information Centre on Lambert Street in downtown Whitehorse.

Operating hours at that location will be weekdays from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Testing kits will include five tests. Yukoners are able to pick up an at-home rapid test for a friend or neighbour if they are unable to travel to get one themselves.

Locations for lab-based PCR testing will also be changing. As of Feb. 21, the Centennial Motors drive-thru centre will end PCR testing. All future lab-based PCR testing will be by appointment only at the COVID-19 Testing and Assessment Centre located beside Boston Pizza and the Motor Vehicles office at 49 Waterfront Place.

In a release, chief medical officer Dr. Catherine Elliott cautioned that the rapid-tests, which are less reliable than lab-based testing, should be used with caution.

“These rapid antigen tests are good at confirming infection when positive but less effective at ruling out infection when negative. That is why it is important to stay home and away from vulnerable people when you have symptoms, even if you get a negative test,” she said.

Contact Haley Ritchie at