Premier Sandy Silver during a live update on the COVID-19 situation at a press conference in Whitehorse on March 27. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)

Premier Sandy Silver during a live update on the COVID-19 situation at a press conference in Whitehorse on March 27. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)

Total Yukon COVID case count increased to 42 cases

Premier urges patience after national meeting on vaccine roll-out

Three new cases of COVID-19 in the Yukon were announced in a press release on Nov. 26.

Two of the new cases are in Whitehorse, while the third case is in a “rural community” that the Yukon government is not divulging the name of to the public.

Case 40 is linked to a known case in Whitehorse, while case 41 is linked to the Diwali festival in Whitehorse mentioned in a previous public notification. Attendees at the Diwali festival on Nov. 14 who are experiencing symptoms are recommended to get tested immediately.

Case 42, outside of Whitehorse, is still under investigation but is suspected to be connected to existing outbreaks in Whitehorse.

A new public exposure notice is being issued for Save-On-Foods for Nov. 18 between 10:30 a.m. and 12 p.m.

On Nov. 25 Yukon’s Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Brendan Hanley confirmed that an employee of a daycare in Whitehorse had tested positive for COVID-19, but said families affected had been contacted directly by Communicable Disease Control.

The Yukon Party has questioned the government’s decision not to notify all members of a school if a student or staff member tests positive for the virus. Schools in Alberta, British Columbia and Nova Scotia have been identified when outbreaks take place.

The Liberals have responded by saying that their advice comes directly from the Chief Medical Officer of Health and that YCDC is capable of tracing and contacting exposures.

Six people have recently recovered from COVID-19, leaving 12 active cases in the Yukon.

Vaccine planning

Silver was grilled by opposition MLAs in the legislative assembly on Nov. 26 after the British Columbia Health Minister announced the province was planning to distribute vaccines as early as January.

In response, Silver said the task was a national one, but the Yukon was preparing by identifying logistical challenges, including storage.

“We will keep an even keel on our announcements here in Yukon and make sure that we provide the most up-to-date information for Yukoners as that becomes available,” he said.

Later that day Premier Sandy Silver attended a first ministers meeting where all premiers joined Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to discuss the national approach to vaccine delivery.

Cabinet spokesperson Matthew Cameron said the discussion included fair and equitable access to the vaccine — including to Indigenous, remote and northern communities.

“Premier Silver encourages patience, as there are many issues still to be worked out and the vaccines still need to be approved,” Cameron said in an email.

Drive-thru testing

The drive-thru testing centre has been extended for an additional two weeks.

Screening at the facility began Nov. 22 and will continue at the Centennial Motors wash bay location with further extension at a possible new location into 2021, according to the government.

People who cannot access the drive-thru or want an in-clinic appointment can call the COVID-19 Testing and Assessment Centre at 867-393-3083 in Whitehorse.

Contact Haley Ritchie at haley.ritchie@yukon-news.com

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