A post-Christmas surge in COVID-19 cases driven by the Omicron variant continues to climb.
The Yukon government reported 41 new COVID-19 cases on Jan. 7. Those cases were recorded over a 24 hour period. This brings the total caseload territory-wide to 329.
The previous day saw a surge of 74 new cases.
There are 261 tests pending result.
The current strain on testing resources spurred a change in testing protocols, announced Jan. 5. Healthy, vaccinated adults are now asked to isolate if they have symptoms rather than seek testing. This is in an effort to focus resources on testing those in greater need.
In a Jan. 5 press conference acting chief medical officer of health Dr. Catherine Elliott said that the case totals are unprecedented and widespread community transmission probably leaves the actual number of people infected with COVID-19 much greater than the official case count confirmed with testing. Despite the high case total, she said this is a step towards living with a milder form of the virus in the long-term.
Elliott is advising people to limit their contacts and get booster shots if they are eligible in order to avoid overwhelming the healthcare system.
Additional public health orders including limits on gatherings and restrictions for bars, restaurants and recreation facilities came into effect on Jan. 7.
For those who are fully vaccinated, gatherings are being limited to 10 people from two households. Fully vaccinated is defined as adults with two doses, children and teens with one dose. For those who aren’t vaccinated, gatherings are limited to a single household only. There is an exception for unvaccinated people who live alone, who are permitted to gather with one other household at a time.
Restrictions on bars, restaurants and cultural and entertainment facilities will take the form of capacity limits to join the existing vaccination requirement.
Elliott said travel between Yukon communities should be for essential purposes only.
As of Wednesday, Jan. 5, the most recent government breakdown by community said 263 cases reside in Whitehorse, 20 lived in Dawson, six in Tagish, five in Carcross, three in Pelly Crossing and one each in Teslin, Old Crow and Haines Junction.
— With files from Haley Ritchie
Contact Jim Elliot at firstname.lastname@example.org