Omicron on the rise in Yukon with 158 new cases since New Year's Eve

·2 min read
On Monday, the Yukon reported 158 new cases of COVID-19 since Friday (New Year's Eve), bringing the total number of active cases to 245. (Lightspring/Shutterstock - image credit)
On Monday, the Yukon reported 158 new cases of COVID-19 since Friday (New Year's Eve), bringing the total number of active cases to 245. (Lightspring/Shutterstock - image credit)

Yukon is experiencing a surge in COVID-19 cases driven by the Omicron variant say territory officials.

On Monday, the territory reported 158 new cases since Friday (New Year's Eve), bringing the total number of active cases to 245.

Currently, the Yukon has a 32 per cent test positivity rate.

Dr. Catherine Elliott, the acting chief medical officer of health, urged Yukoners in a news release "to stay home when sick with even the mildest of symptoms."

The release says the Yukon, like most other jurisdictions in Canada, is seeing the Omicron wave rising and say it is spreading much faster than other variants.

"I am urging anyone who has even the slightest symptoms to stay home. We are hearing stories of whole families who are isolating together even though maybe only two or three people are ill," Elliott said.

"To those people, I want to say thank you. Thank you for continuing to break the cycle of transmission, stopping the spread of COVID-19, and protecting our community. Staying home when sick, even mildly is now more important than ever."

Paul Tukker/CBC
Paul Tukker/CBC

Over the weekend, the 15th death was reported in the Yukon since the start of the pandemic. On Friday, the territory also announced new public health restrictions as a result of the growing case count.

Back to school worries

Meanwhile, the Yukon teachers' union worried about a potential surge of COVID-19 cases in classrooms.

While Omicron is forcing schools across the country to delay the return to in-person learning and many schools won't be open for another week in most of Canada, class is back in session in the Yukon, starting Tuesday.

Ted Hupé, president of the Yukon Association of Education Professionals, said the territory is being reactive instead of proactive and he fears staff shortages if people start getting sick.

"Here we have a territory that saw some huge waves of cases in November, and our government, our Department of Education, decided that schools were going to be open at all costs," he said.

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