Three people are hospitalized in Whitehorse with COVID-19 infections, health officials said this morning.
That was the highlight of today’s weekly COVID-19 briefing by Dr. Brendan Hanley, the chief medical officer of health.
Eight new cases have been confirmed in the Yukon, bringing the case count to 90.
Three people at the Victoria Gold mine in the Mayo region have the virus.
One Yukon resident who is out-of-territory is included, although that person did not catch the virus here and will not return until recovered. That case is included in the case count regardless of that status.
Three people in Whitehorse were diagnosed, while an additional person in an undisclosed rural location is also infected. That location will not be revealed unless a public exposure notice is issued.
“That’s three of the seven (outside the mine outbreak), Hanley said.
It’s not clear if it is all of the Whitehorse residents who are in the hospital, or if the rural person is amongst those three patients.
So far, the three people are not in serious condition, Hanley said.
“I don’t have an update from today, but there’s nothing to indicate that will change.
“The cases are stable. Two are between 40 and 50 years old. One is 60-plus.
“That’s younger than might be expected,” he said.
None of the three are vaccinated, Hanley said.
He called that change of affairs in the matter of a few days “a remarkable number.”
At the mine site, one of the infected people is fully vaccinated, while the other two have had one dose of the vaccine.
The three individuals positive for COVID-19 have now been identified as having the P.1 (Gamma) variant of concern. They remain in isolation.
Hanley said it’s a sobering reminder the vaccines aren’t 100-per-cent effective under some circumstances, such as the close confines of the mine.
He stressed that even when the vaccine fails to prevent infection, the severity of the symptoms is likely to be reduced.
The investigation into the source of the rash of infections is underway. There are no answers yet, and no information indicating
the cluster at the mine is related to the Whitehorse region cases.
Three-quarters of people at the mine have been vaccinated.
“The situation has changed dramatically in a few days,” Tracy-Anne McPhee, the deputy premier and minister of Health and Social Services, said at this morning’s briefing.
She announced that partially due to the current cases, the government will not relax any more health restrictions until the number of fully-vaccinated people rises to 75 per cent. It’s at 72 per cent now.
McPhee also announced that of June 18, unvaccinated children up to 12 from anywhere in Canada who are travelling with vaccinated family members or guardians will not have to self-isolate when they reach the Yukon.
That also applies to Yukon residents.
The decision to allow such travel was made last week, but a date had not been announced.
The government has issued exposures notices for a number of locations around Whitehorse.
People may have been exposed to the COVID-19 infection if they were at one of the following locations:
• Casa Loma Motel Bar
Saturday, May 29, between 9 p.m. to closing;
Monday, May 31, between 11 p.m. to closing;
Saturday, June 5, between 8:30 p.m. to midnight.
• Whiskey Jacks Pub & Grill
Friday, May 28, between 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.;
Saturday, June 5, between 6:30 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Sunday, June 6, between 1 p.m. to 2 p.m.;
Sunday, June 6, between 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.
• Canadian Tire
Sunday, June 6, between 1 p.m. to 2 p.m.
More notices are possible in the future, and more cases might crop up as well, Hanley said.