Lack of testing capacity prompts Yukon to hand out take-home COVID-19 tests

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WHITEHORSE — Yukon is handing out its first shipment of COVID-19 rapid tests from the federal government to people with symptoms who don't meet the new requirements for PCR tests.

Yukon says in a statement the rapid spread of the Omicron variant of COVID-19 has created a growing demand and the PCR tests will be prioritized for those who are most at risk.

The free antigen tests will be handed out in Whitehorse, while the government said those outside the city or who are from vulnerable populations will be able to go for a test in community centres.

Vulnerable populations include the unvaccinated and those who have an underlying condition, are pregnant, living in long-term care or correctional centres, or who are over 50.

Acting chief medical health officer Dr. Catherine Elliott says even if the rapid test says people are negative, they should stay home and away from others if they are feeling unwell.

Yukon says it has 197 new COVID-19 cases, bringing active cases in the territory to 385, while 15 people have died since the pandemic began.

The territory says it has received 50,000 rapid home tests since the federal government announced last week it would be shipping 140 million tests to province and territories this month.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 10, 2022.

The Canadian Press

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