A sign and arrow directing drivers to the temporary COVID-19 drive-thru testing centre at Centennial Motors on the Alaska Highway in Whitehorse on Nov. 23. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)

A sign and arrow directing drivers to the temporary COVID-19 drive-thru testing centre at Centennial Motors on the Alaska Highway in Whitehorse on Nov. 23. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)

Six new COVID-19 cases announced, drive-thru screening set up

More cases are expected

Yukon’s Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Brendan Hanley has confirmed the territory’s total COVID count is now up to 38 cases, with 14 of those being active.

At a Nov. 23 press conference, Hanley confirmed there are six new cases in the territory in the territory with five of those related to previous cases and one still under investigation.

“In the last week, since the announcement of case 24, we’ve had 14 additional cases,” Hanley said. “And we are expecting that we will see more to come.”

Work is underway to see how all recent cases may be connected.

“We have not yet ruled out community transmission, but at the same time we see no evidence of community transmission,” Hanley said, noting each of the cases seems to be linked to travel or existing clusters.

After issuing a public exposure notice for a number of Whitehorse locations last week, it expanded the notice for the Better Bodies fitness centre. It’s advised anyone who was there on Nov. 16 from 5 a.m. to 7 a.m. and experiencing symptoms to call the COVID testing centre in Whitehorse at 393-3083 or their community health centre. The gym has closed its doors from Nov. 21 until Nov. 24 for deep cleaning and to look at the spacing for equipment again, according to a Facebook post from the business.

Along with the territorial public exposure notice, Air North also issued a statement Friday stating guests in rows one to six on a Nov. 12 flight (flight 4N574) from Vancouver to Whitehorse and a Nov. 15 flight (flight 4N573) from Whitehorse to Vancouver “are considered to be at risk of exposure to a person who was onboard our aircraft and subsequently tested positive for COVID-19.”

Passengers who were in the rows one to six on either of those flights are advised to self-monitor for COVID-19 symptoms.

“We have notified the crew and the potentially exposed passengers of the affected flights and instructed them to diligently self-monitor for symptoms,” it’s highlighted in the statement.

To accommodate the anticipated increased demand for testing, the territory opened a drive-thru COVID-19 screening service on Nov. 22 at Centennial Motors on the Alaska Highway. It’s opened every day from 8:30 a.m. until 5:30 p.m.

Hanley said the drive-thru will assessed at the end of the week with service to be extended if necessary.

As numbers continue to rise, Hanley is reminding Yukoners of the importance of practising the Safe 6 – social distancing, proper hand washing, staying home if sick, following guidelines for social and organized gatherings, limiting travel, and self-isolating for 14 days if you are coming into the Yukon from Outside.

And while the territory continues to work on a potential mask policy more businesses, governments and organization are mandating mask use in their facilities. It was announced Nov. 23 that anyone entering the Law Courts Building in Whitehorse are now required to wear a mask.

The City of Whitehorse is also requiring masks on public transit, in many parts of the Canada Games Centre and Takhini Arena with many businesses in Whitehorse posting signs asking that customers don a mask while in their store.

Contact Stephanie Waddell at stephanie.waddell@yukon-news.com

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