An outbreak of COVID-19 was declared for two classrooms at Ghùch Tiâ Community School in Carcross at 6 p.m. last Friday.
The active case count by Yukon community chart was updated Oct. 1 to reflect eight active cases in Carcross, the highest of any community in the territory. At 5 pm Monday, another nine cases were reported in the community, bringing the total active cases to 17.
The Yukon government’s rapid response team was deployed to the community for three days of rapid testing at the community’s fire hall over the weekend.
On Monday afternoon they announced that the COVID testing response team will remain in Carcross until Oct. 8. Definitive test results from the weekend will become available over the next days.
Over the weekend, there was a flurry of local concern as people worried about grandparents and children at Haa Yátx’i Hidí (CTFN’s early childhood learning centre/daycare).
Early Monday morning parents of children at the daycare received a letter stating that there was a case of COVID-19 affecting all childcare groups at Haa Yátx’i Hidí Daycare in Carcross attending on Oct. 1.
The letter states, “After careful analysis, we recommend that all children who attended Haa Yátx’i Hidí Daycare anytime on Oct. 1 self-isolate through Oct. 11 and then self-monitor for symptoms through Oct. 15. We also recommend that all children in this group be tested for COVID-19, if they develop symptoms no matter how mild.”
Parents in the community expressed frustration over the government’s lack of clarity around the “recommendation” to self-isolate. Children self-isolating needs parents self-isolating along with them, which diminishes local staffing and family income.
The child care facility remains open, with reduced capacity due to staff shortages incurred by isolation.
In contrast, the affected classes at Ghùch Tiâ Community School are suspended until Oct. 8 and students will return to school after Thanksgiving on Oct. 12. Other classes continue, but if students need to stay away due to other isolating family members, work packages are being made available for students.
In addition to the classrooms for early learning/kindergarten and grades 1/2/3, there are two events that occurred on Wednesday, Sept. 22 that were also identified for possible exposure:
Parents of children were notified by the school and letters also went to parents of home-schooled children who attend the judo and youth nights.
Carcross and Tagish together have one of the lower vaccination rates in the Yukon. The most recent vaccination information distributed from the government to the community is that for Carcross and Tagish the vaccine uptake numbers (out of 788 people, deemed eligible population of age 12+) that 71 per cent have received both doses.
The overall vaccination rate for Yukon (12+) is 83 per cent, and for Southeast: Watson Lake, Teslin, Johnson’s Crossing, Swift River, Tagish, Carcross is 73 per cent, according to the government website.
The Health Centre in Carcross will be hosting a vaccination clinic on Wednesday Oct. 6 between 1:30 and 4 p.m. for people 18+ to recieve their first or second shots of vaccine for people of the Carcross Tagish area. Children 12 and up were out of school in Carcross when the first vaccination round for young people became available in the community.
Lawrie Crawford, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Yukon News