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Yukon confirms 6 new cases of COVID-19, community transmission not ruled out yet

Yukon's Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Brendan Hanley announced six new cases of COVID-19 in the territory on Monday morning.

'We have not yet ruled out community transmission,' says chief medical officer

In a news conference Monday morning, Chief Medical Officer Dr. Brendan Hanley said that since Saturday, six additional cases have been confirmed, and that 'information is literally changing by the hour.' (Government of Yukon/Alistair Maitland)

Yukon's Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Brendan Hanley announced six new cases of COVID-19 in the territory on Monday morning.

This brings Yukon's total case count to 38, with 23 recovered and one death.

In a news conference Monday morning, Hanley said that since Saturday, six additional cases have been confirmed, and that "information is literally changing by the hour."

"14 confirmed cases and two additional probable cases have been identified in Yukon since November 9th," he said.

Two of the affected people are now in hospital in Whitehorse, Hanley said.

On Saturday, the Yukon government confirmed three new cases of COVID-19 in the territory. 

Two of those cases were linked to previous ones, while another is related to out-of-territory travel, according to a news release.

Five of the new cases announced on Monday are linked to a previous case while one is still under investigation. 

Cases 35 and 36 were being investigated Monday after the government was made aware of them on Sunday evening, Hanley said. The territory was made aware of cases 37 and 38 on Monday morning, Hanley said. 

"We are expecting that we will see more to come," said Hanley. He said officials are investigating how all the recent cases may be connected. 

"We have not yet ruled out community transmission, but at the same time we see no evidence of community transmission," said Hanley, with each of the cases seemingly linked to travel or existing clusters.

He said the known cases are currently being identified as three groups — two of them considered outbreaks, and one as a "cluster" of cases.

"There are some possible links between all three [groups], so we may end up with either one large outbreak, or two, and as we get further information we'll be able to better define these as either combined or separate events," Hanley said.

The age range of cases is from under 10 years, to over 60 years old, said Hanley. Most were in the 20 to 39 age range, Hanley said.

Drive-thru testing now available

On Monday, Hanley also announced that drive-thru COVID-19 testing opened on Sunday in Whitehorse, and will be available until Saturday, Nov. 28. 

The drive-thru is located at Centennial Motors, 91628 Alaska Highway, in the wash bay.

A drive-thru COVID-19 testing centre was set up Sunday at Centennial Motors, on the Alaska Highway in Whitehorse. It will be open for one week, until Saturday. (Elyn Jones/CBC)

The service will be available for one week from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m and it will be used for people with COVID-19 symptoms, "to meet the increased demand."

Over the weekend, the territory also expanded a public exposure notice for a Whitehorse fitness centre. Anyone who was at Better Bodies on Nov. 16 between 5 a.m. and 7 a.m. and is experiencing symptoms should call the COVID-19 testing centre in Whitehorse at 867-393-3083, or contact the health centre in their community.

On Friday, the territory issued a similar exposure notice for the fitness centre for anyone who was there on Nov. 14 between 12 p.m. and 2:30 p.m.

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