If you have COVID-19 symptoms in Whitehorse, you can get a take-home rapid test

·2 min read
Yukon acting chief medical officer of health Dr. Catherine Elliott speaks at a COVID-19 update in Whitehorse on Nov. 3, 2021. The territory says it has rapid antigen tests for Yukoners who have COVID-19 symptoms but who don't qualify for a lab test. (Jackie Hong/CBC  - image credit)
Yukon acting chief medical officer of health Dr. Catherine Elliott speaks at a COVID-19 update in Whitehorse on Nov. 3, 2021. The territory says it has rapid antigen tests for Yukoners who have COVID-19 symptoms but who don't qualify for a lab test. (Jackie Hong/CBC - image credit)

Yukoners who have COVID-19 symptoms, but who don't meet the Yukon government's threshold for a laboratory PCR test, can now pick up an at-home testing kit instead.

In a news release Monday afternoon, the government said it is providing a rapid antigen test for everyone in Yukon who has symptoms.

The tests can be picked up via drive-thru at the Takhini Arena in Whitehorse from 7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. between Monday and Friday.

The news release included a reminder that those with symptoms should assume they have COVID-19 regardless of whether they test positive.

"It is important to do the right thing and stay home and away from others if you have COVID-19, even if your rapid antigen test is negative," said Dr. Catherine Elliott, Yukon's acting chief medical officer of health, in the news release.

The Yukon government reported 197 new cases across the territory over the weekend, bringing the overall case count to 385.

It also issued six public exposure notices, four for schools and two for daycares, all in Whitehorse.

Yukon recently changed its testing approach because of how many people are catching the Omicron variant of COVID-19.

Lab-based PCR tests are now reserved for people who are at most risk of getting severely ill: people from communities outside Whitehorse, front-line workers, people and staff in congregate living, people over 50 years of age, those who are pregnant or have risk factors for severe disease, and people who are unvaccinated or partially vaccinated.

Those in other communities outside Whitehorse can still be tested for COVID-19 at their local health centres.

More tests on the way

The government said Monday that it has received 50,000 rapid home tests in its first shipment from the federal government. It also had a small amount of home tests in stock, which are being funnelled into the rapid testing program.

The Yukon government expects another shipment of tests within the next few weeks.

"The Government of Yukon is working on a plan to make a portion of the rapid home antigen tests available to the public for non-symptomatic purposes as more shipments arrive," the news release stated.

It takes about 15 minutes for the rapid tests to show a result. The take-home kits include instructions on how to use them and how to interpret the results, the government said.

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