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Yukon reports 12 new COVID-19 cases; Watson Lake elementary school sees outbreak

Grade 4 students at Johnson Elementary School isolating due to three cases
Chief Medical Officer of Health Catherine Elliott speaks to media during a press conference in Whitehorse on September 7. (Haley Ritchie/Yukon News)

The weekend saw 12 new COVID-19 cases in the Yukon including an outbreak which was declared among Grade 4 students at Johnson Elementary School in Watson Lake.

Of the 12 new cases, one is in Whitehorse, eight are in rural communities and three are people who reside outside the territory diagnosed in the Yukon.

As of a Sept. 20 update from Dr. Catherine Elliott, the Yukon’s acting Chief Medical Officer of Health, there were 30 active cases in the territory.

Elliott declared an outbreak at the elementary school in Watson Lake days after students in two grades were asked to self-isolate and then monitor for symptoms. According to the government notice, three cases have been linked to the outbreak.

“These cases have no known exposure sources other than the Grade 4 classroom. It is most likely that these cases caught COVID-19 within their class cohort and there is no indication of spread in the school beyond this class,” the notice reads.

“The students in this class are currently isolating as per direction from Yukon Communicable Disease Control. Teachers and educational assistants are isolating or self-monitoring, based on their vaccination status. Grade 4 students and staff are urged to seek testing, whether or not they have symptoms, if they have not been tested after September 17.”

Late last week Grade 1 students at the school who were in class between Sept. 7 and 9 were asked to self-isolate until Sept. 19 and monitor themselves for symptoms until Sept. 23. Staff who are either unvaccinated or not fully vaccinated were also asked to self isolate. The Sept. 20 notice states there is no change in recommendation for the Grade 1 students

A rapid-response testing team is expected to begin testing in Watson Lake on Sept. 21.

The new cases bring the total cases in the territory since March 2020 to 725; 678 of those have been since June 1 of this year. 691 Yukoners have recovered from the virus.

(Jim Elliot)

Jim Elliot

About the Author: Jim Elliot

I’m a B.C. transplant here in Whitehorse at The News telling stories about the Yukon's people, environment, and culture.
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