North

New case of COVID-19 in Yukon, this time in a rural community

Yukon has now confirmed 8 cases of COVID-19 in the territory. The latest case was found in a rural community outside Whitehorse, according to the chief medical officer.

Dr. Brendan Hanley announced territory's 8th case Wednesday, the 1st found outside Whitehorse

In a news conference on Wednesday, Dr. Brendan Hanley called it a "new twist" in Yukon's experience of the pandemic.  (Wayne Vallevand/CBC)

Yukon's chief medical officer has announced another confirmed case of COVID-19 in the territory — the first to be found in a rural community.

In a news conference on Wednesday, Dr. Brendan Hanley called it a "new twist" in Yukon's experience of the pandemic. 

The latest case is the territory's eighth. The first seven confirmed cases were all in Whitehorse.

Hanley said the new case is related to travel outside of Canada. The person is isolated at home and "doing well," he said.

Hanley did not name the community where the case was found. Officials had said earlier that they would not be naming affected communities outside of Whitehorse.

"Unless there's a compelling reason due to public risk, there is no need to tell others of the community. Both individuals and communities deserve their privacy," Hanley said on Wednesday.

"Disclosing identity of a community can quickly lead to identifying suspected individuals or their families."

Hanley said he may inform leaders in the affected community, however — such as a First Nation's chief. But the identity of the affected individual is never disclosed in those conversations, he said. 

"This, in my opinion, is the best way to keep leaders informed so they can retain their confidence in our approach, and help to allay community fears," Hanley said.  

Watch Wednesday's new conference here:

Public health officials in the N.W.T. have said they would not name smaller communities where cases are confirmed. But that territory's fourth case — the first outside Yellowknife or Inuvik — was revealed a few days ago to be in Fort Resolution, in a Facebook post from Deninu Kue Chief Louis Balsillie.

Nunavut's top doctor, meanwhile, has said he will name any affected communities. As of Wednesday, that territory had no confirmed cases. 

"Different jurisdictions make different judgments, based on differing considerations and cultures," said Hanley.

No community transmission

None of Yukon's COVID-19 cases so far have required hospitalization. Four of the affected people have recovered.

So far, all cases have been related to travel outside Yukon.

Hanley says that's significant because it means there is no evidence yet of community transmission. That's when a case can't be directly linked to travel, or to close contacts.

"We are not there yet," Hanley said on Wednesday. "But that is always the thing we are looking for."

Hanley has been giving briefings every two or three days in recent weeks. He said his next public briefing won't be until after the Easter weekend, on Tuesday. 

As of Wednesday, 794 Yukoners had been tested, and results were pending on 19 of those.

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