Yukon COVID-19 daily cases remain high but plateauing: acting top doctor

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WHITEHORSE — Yukon's acting top doctor says COVID-19 cases appear to be plateauing following a spike early this month.

Dr. André Corriveau, acting chief medical officer of health, said Wednesday that with new cases hovering around 30 per day, the case count remains high but the infection curve appears to be levelling off.

"It's still high, but we think we're heading in the right direction," he said during a news conference.

Therewere 157 active cases and six people are in hospital, while a total of 1,322 cases have been confirmed to date and 11 people have died since the pandemic began.

New cases are concentrated in Whitehorse. Corriveau said he expects additional clusters linked to a big hockey tournament held recently in Teslin and encouraged anyone who attended to self-monitor for symptoms.

The territory declared a state of emergency last week amid surging cases and introduced new measures that took effect Saturday. They include proof-of-vaccination requirements for certain venues, restrictions on gathering sizes and mask mandates in public indoor settings.

Premier Sandy Silver said the "circuit breaker" measures will be in place until at least Dec. 3.

"These are temporary measures, we are not in a lockdown. These measures, including limits on gathering sizes, are to disrupt the rampant transmission we are seeing," Silver said.

It's too early to tell how effective the short-term restrictions have been, but their full impact should be evident in two to three weeks, Corriveau said.

The territory's strongest long-term strategy remains raising vaccination rates, he said.

COVID-19 rates remain high among young Yukoners, with about 30 per cent of cases recorded among those under 12. Investigations have shown the bulk of that transmission is not occurring within school settings, but instead at home and in the community through events like birthday parties, Corriveau said.

However, vaccinations are proving very effective among those old enough to get a shot, he added, with only four per cent of cases recorded in high school populations.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 17, 2021.

The Canadian Press

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