COVID-19 Delta variant is in Yukon, chief medical officer says

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Catherine Elliott, Yukon's acting chief medical officer of health, announced two Delta variant cases this week. (Steve Silva/CBC - image credit)
Catherine Elliott, Yukon's acting chief medical officer of health, announced two Delta variant cases this week. (Steve Silva/CBC - image credit)

The highly contagious Delta variant is now in Yukon, according to the territory's acting chief medical officer of health.

Of the nine new COVID-19 cases in the territory since Aug. 17, two are the Delta strain.

"These cases have been investigated and there's no further transmission of cases," Dr. Catherine Elliott told CBC News.

As of Thursday afternoon, the total case count in Yukon is 47.

Elliott said the Delta variant cases were discovered on Wednesday. One of the infected people is from out of the territory, the other is a Yukoner. Elliott said one of them has been transported to the hospital.

According to a news release, there are no exposure events linked to the most recent cases.

Eight of the new cases are located in rural areas. The remaining case is the out-of-territory resident infected by the Delta strain.

Elliott said the Delta cases were detected via genomic analysis conducted by the B.C. Centre for Disease Control.

"This Delta variant is rapidly becoming the dominant strain across Canada," she said. Elliott said the strain makes up about 75 per cent of cases in Alberta and British Columbia.

"As people come in and out of the territory, it's natural that those people with Covid would have one of the variants."

No change in response

Elliott said the introduction of the Delta strain won't affect Yukon's COVID-19 response. She said her office is closely monitoring surges in neighbouring jurisdictions.

"We manage the Delta variant the same as we manage the rest of Covid," she said.

"We've really come a long way since March 2020. We've had a lot of successes along the way and we have a laudable response that's been recognized by the chief medical health officer of Canada."

Elliott is urging Yukoners who have yet to be inoculated to roll up their sleeves.

"Getting vaccinated will be the thing that will help this territory the most," she said.

Ross River reported 17 cases this week

The Ross River Dena Council reported 17 COVID-19 cases in Ross River, Yukon, on Wednesday.

The council's deputy chief told CBC News the case count is the highest the community has seen since the start of the pandemic.

Among other things, the council is temporarily barring visitors from outside the community and urging members to get tested if they exhibit symptoms consistent with the virus.

"The community is very proactive and is doing the right thing," Elliott said. "We continue to be actively working with the chief and council and responding to the Ross River situation."

Elliott said a vaccine clinic is open on Thursday "to augment the ongoing vaccination campaign" in the community.

The vaccination clinic is available to adults at the Ross River Health Centre on Thursday from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.

According to weekly vaccination rates tracked by the Yukon government, 64 per cent of eligible residents in central Yukon — which includes Ross River — have received both jabs.

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