WHITEHORSE — Yukon's acting top doctor is advising the territory's residents that if they have symptoms of COVID-19, they should assume they have the virus without getting tested.
Dr. Catherine Elliott said Wednesday just under 5,000 rapid tests are currently available and those are needed for people who are considered high risk or have chronic health conditions.
"When a disease is mild in most people and highly transmissible, it results in many cases in the population," she said. "People with strong immunity don't need a test. They just need to slow down, stay home and take care of themselves for seven days."
Premier Sandy Silver said Yukon will be getting about 100,000 of the 140 million rapid tests the federal government plans to ship to provinces and territories this month.
Elliott said more information will be released in the next few days on how people can access the test kits.
"These have been and are being used to limit spread and outbreaks in settings where there's high risk of spread," added Elliott.
The territory has reported 325 active COVID-19 case,but Elliott said those figures only reflect "a portion of the true number of cases in Yukon."
Yukon is following some other provinces in cutting the isolation period for people diagnosed with COVID-19 to seven days for those who have been vaccinated and have no symptoms.
Yukon students returned to in-person learning Tuesday and Elliott said it is the government's full intention to keep children in schools because they haven't seen a lot of transmission in that setting.
"Schools should be the last thing to close down in a pandemic," said Silver. "All schools have operational plans in place to keep students and staff healthy and safe."
Elliott said the ministry will continue to monitor the situation and will make the decision to reduce the number of students in schools or shift back to online learning if necessary.
Yukon previously announced new public health measures will start Friday, limiting indoor personal gatheringsto 10 people, capping outdoor gatherings at 25, and restricting organized indoor events to 50 per cent of a venue's capacity with proof of vaccination.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 5, 2022.
This story was produced with the financial assistance of the Facebook and Canadian Press News Fellowship.
The Canadian Press