August 17 COVID-19 Update (10 p.m.)

Current COVID-19 Situation in Ross River  

Ross River Dena Council advises all community members that as of 10:00 p.m. on Tuesday, August 17, 2021 the number of active cases involving members of our community has increased to 17 following the first day of rapid testing at the Ross River School Gymnasium.

Council advises that all eight of the individuals who received a positive result today are now self-isolating, and that their close contacts and household contacts are being notified and asked to self-isolate and self-monitor for symptoms immediately out of an abundance of precaution.

This was Ross River’s largest single-day jump in cases since the outbreak began in June and our community has now reached its highest active case count since the start of the pandemic.

It is anticipated that the number of active cases will continue to rise over the next week as numerous close contacts and household contacts could begin to experience symptoms in the coming days. 

Symptoms include:

  • Fever/chills
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath
  • Runny nose
  • Sore throat
  • Headache
  • Loss of sense of taste or smell
  • Fatigue
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Loss of appetite
  • Diarrhea
  • Muscle aches

If you or someone you know is experiencing one or more of these symptoms, please self-isolate immediately and contact the Health Centre at 969-4444 to arrange for a COVID-19 test.

Other notes from today:

  • The rapid testing clinic successfully tested almost 50 community members today, an enormous achievement with only one tester available. 
  • Any individuals who tested negative today but have recently been in contact with someone who tested positive – or if you live with someone who tested positive today – it is extremely important that you self-isolate as well. If you have questions, please contact the Ross River Health Centre at 969-4444 to discuss your situation and perhaps consider returning for another rapid test on Wednesday or Thursday, if the rapid testing clinic is extended;
  • Council wishes to extend our sincerest gratitude to the rapid testing team for their dedication, support and the respect that they have shown our community on this very difficult day;
  • Due to significant demand, some community members waited at the school for over an hour to get tested and became frustrated. With one tester, it can create a backlog so the Rapid Testing team added a sign-in sheet for those who would like to reserve a specific time slot and/or wish to receive a phone call when there is an opening. This was a much-appreciated solution.
  • Over the next 24-48 hours contact tracing will reach out to individuals who may have been in contact with someone who tested positive. Contact tracing is led by Yukon Communicable Disease Control (YCDC) in Whitehorse and involves reaching out to those who were in direct contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19. If you are contacted, a representative of YCDC will play an extremely important role to guide you on next steps and help answer any questions you may have about your current situation.
  • If you or someone you know may have been exposed to an individual who tested positive it is important to immediately self-isolate, contact the Ross River Health Centre at 969-4444 and begin to self-monitor for symptoms. For more information about self-isolation or what to do if you may have been exposed, go here.

Rapid Testing Extended to 8:00 p.m. on Wednesday 

The second day of Rapid Testing is scheduled for Wednesday, August 18, 2021 from 10:00 a.m. until 8:00 p.m. at the Ross River School Gymnasium. 

Anyone concerned about the spread of COVID-19 in Ross River is asked to please go to the school for a test – this will play an instrumental role to finding and containing COVID-19 in our community.

Rapid testing can generate results in approximately 15 minutes – much faster than the normal 24-48-hour turnaround time. It is also less invasive than standard tests.

Another important feature of rapid testing is that you do not need to be showing symptoms in order to get a test, unlike with the standard test.

All community members are encouraged to get tested – no appointment is necessary, simply bring your health card (preferred) to the clinic and be sure to practice the Safe 6+1 if there is a lineup outside. 

Based on significant demand and the number of new cases detected today, Ross River Dena Council has requested that this clinic to be extended until Thursday and Friday in order to continue this important work, and to allow elders and families sufficient time to access this much less invasive method of COVID testing. The Government of Yukon is now considering options to support the community and a decision about the possible extension is expected Wednesday. 

Vaccination Clinic Thursday

A vaccination clinic for Adults (18+) will be held at the Ross River Health Centre on Thursday, August 19 from 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

For community members who are unvaccinated, please note that the vaccine is still considered to be the best way to protect yourself and your family against this virus.

If you have questions or would like assistance with booking an appointment please contact the Health Centre at 969-4444. 

Protecting Our Most Vulnerable Community Members

As the COVID-19 situation in Ross River advances Council is asking everyone to please remain calm, to keep looking out for one another and to continue taking every possible precaution in the days ahead. 

Your efforts to practice the Safe 6+1 and follow the local COVID-19 safety measures will play an important role to keeping our elders, our families and the most vulnerable members of our community safe right now.

Council is asking everyone to please continue to:

  • Wear a mask
  • Wash your hands
  • Stay at least six feet apart 
  • Do not participate in gatherings
  • Do not visit with others
  • Self-isolate after travel if unvaccinated 

It is really important to contact the Ross River COVID-19 Support Line at 747-0099 or the Ross River Health Centre at 969-4444 if you observe anyone who is showing symptoms of COVID-19.

Help Us Stay Connected

While there is ongoing support for the individuals in self-isolation using the Ross River COVID-19 Support Line, there may be some individuals who do not have phones, and may be unaware of the dangers and/or may be showing symptoms.

If you observe a community member who is sick and is not self-isolating, please call the Ross River COVID-19 Support Line at 747-0099 and we can help by providing temporary cel phones and self-isolation support for individuals in need.

Travel Advisory – Do Not Visit Ross River At This Time

We can all help prevent the spread of COVID-19 by following travel advisories that have been put in place by Yukon First Nations and municipalities.

With the current outbreak impacting families in Ross River, Watson Lake, Carmacks and Faro, Council is asking Yukoners and travellers from outside of the territory to please continue to respect the travel advisory for Ross River, which reads as follows:   

  • NO VISITORS – Please do not visit Ross River at this time;  
  • ROSS RIVER CITIZENS: ESSENTIAL TRAVEL ONLY – Ross River citizens are asked to respect all travel advisories currently in effect and to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 in our neighbouring communities of Watson Lake, Faro and Carmacks. Please refrain from travelling to these communities unless it is absolutely necessary (i.e. for medical reasons) 

Please visit the Council of Yukon First Nations website for more information about current travel advisories.

Ross River Dena Council has established the RRDC COVID-19 Action Plan Working Group to advise Council and help coordinate COVID-19 community outreach and support efforts during an unprecedented public health emergency. For more information about the Working Group or if you would like to volunteer and help make a difference, please send an email to the Working Group Co-Chairs Verna Nukon at and/or Dylan Loblaw at You can also reach us by calling the Ross River COVID-19 Support Line at 747-0099 at any time. 

Thank you,

Ross River Dena Council