September 2 COVID-19 Update

Current COVID-19 Situation in Ross River

Ross River Dena Council advises all community members that as of 8:00 p.m. on Thursday, September 2, 2021 the number of active cases involving members of our community is four. 

One case is self-isolating in Ross River and three cases are self-isolating in Whitehorse. 

All close contacts and household contacts have been notified by Yukon Communicable Disease Control (YCDC) about the requirement to self-isolate, and the Health Centre is also assisting with questions about how and where to isolate. If you would like more information about your self-isolation period, or the options available for self-isolating outside of the community, please call (867) 969-4444

And while the case count has been trending in the right direction over the past two weeks, there is still a chance we could see new cases in the coming days.

Council asks that you please continue to take extra precautions while in Ross River:

  • 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

Thank you to everyone for your efforts to help keep our elders, our families and the most vulnerable members of our community safe.

Rapid Testing Clinic Friday and Saturday 10 a.m – 6 p.m.

Knowing that COVID-19 is still a factor in our community, a rapid testing clinic has been organized for Friday and Saturday (September 3-4) at the Ross River School gymnasium from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. both days.

Anyone who is concerned about the spread of COVID-19 in Ross River is asked to please go for a test – this will play an instrumental role to contain the virus. 

Rapid testing can generate results in approximately 15 minutes – much faster than the normal 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 have symptoms in order to get a test, unlike with the standard test.

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. 

Request for Ongoing Rapid Testing (An Update)

Council has emphasized the importance of deploying ongoing rapid testing in the community as a way to help address testing hesitancy, as many members were (and still are) choosing not to get tested at the Health Centre due to concerns with the standard test – a much longer swab.

At the rapid testing clinic held just two weeks ago (August 18-20), approximately 150 community members requested a rapid test over a three-day period. A total of 13 individuals tested positive, bringing our active case count to 22. This surge in cases was difficult news, however it illustrated something very important – that rapid testing works in Ross River.

Combined with community-level safety measures and local outreach, Council sees ongoing rapid testing as a non-invasive tool that can help prevent outbreaks as we work to increase the vaccination rate – still the lowest in the territory (49% fully vaccinated, 61% partially vaccinated).

Council appreciates that a new rapid testing team has been deployed to Ross River in such a timely manner – just two weeks after our last clinic, however, looking ahead we welcome the opportunity to work with all partners to find a more cost-effective, community-based solution that can help prevent an outbreak immediately, rather than waiting for multiple infections to occur before a clinic is deployed from Whitehorse. 

One solution could be to begin using the rapid testing equipment that is already in place at the Ross River Health Centre, but is not being used due to a lack of trained testers. Another solution could involve community-based training in partnership with the Health Centre and/or mining companies who have been administering rapid testing in Yukon for months and are now offering to assist our community.

Living with COVID-19 in Ross River means something very different than it does in Whitehorse. The lifting of restrictions by the Yukon Government in August has brought new pressures and new challenges for our community, and finding solutions that can help us re-open offices, re-open facilities and restore services is Council’s highest priority, hence we are looking very forward to continuing discussions about ongoing rapid testing with all levels of government in the weeks and months ahead.

Thank You For Taking Self-Isolation Seriously

As mentioned above, close contacts and household contacts are generally notified by Yukon Communicable Disease Control (YCDC) about the requirement to self-isolate within 24-48 hours of the positive test result. The Health Centre can also assist with questions about how and where to isolate.

If you or someone you know would like more information about their self-isolation period, what a negative rapid test means while you’re in self-isolation, or what options may be available for those who cannot find a safe location to self-isolate in the Ross River, please call (867) 969-4444

What if I Test Negative at Rapid Testing, Do I Still Need to Self-Isolate?

The answer is yes. A negative result at rapid testing means you are negative right now, it does not mean you will be negative later this week. In some cases it can take well over a week for the virus to take hold and for symptoms to appear. This is why it is very important for individuals who have been exposed to remain in self-isolation until Yukon Communicable Disease Control in Whitehorse gives you the all clear.

Symptoms can 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.

To report someone those who may not be following self-isolation guidelines, community members can call (867) 393-6210 and a Civil Emergency Measures Act (CEMA) officer will verify the information with Yukon Communicable Disease Control before an officer is dispatched.

Current Risk Level 5 (Extreme)  

As of September 2, 2021 there are active cases of COVID-19 in Ross River and the community continues to have the lowest vaccination rate in Yukon, with approximately 51% of our population now fully vaccinated. For this reason, the current COVID-19 Risk Level for Ross River remains at Level 5 (Extreme) and the following COVID-19 safety measures are in effect:  

  • The Dena General Store will now be closed on Sundays and Tuesdays for cleaning and store management advises that new safety measures will be in place to support pick-up and delivery services, depending on the COVID-19 situation in Ross River. To place an order for delivery please call 969-2280 and/or send an email to and someone will respond as soon as possible; 
  • Tu-Lidlini Petroleum advises that the gas station will have reduced hours from 10:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. until further notice and that customers are strongly encouraged to use the Cardlock system to pay for fuel; 
  • Banking services will be available at the Dena General Store on Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. – services are provided at the door, as the store is currently closed to the public. 
  • The following travel advisory is now in effect:  
    • 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) Ross River Dena Council offices will remain closed to the public until further notice; 
  • Ross River Dena Council offices are now in the first phase of a three-phase Re-Opening Plan, which allows access to up to three staff members into RRDC buildings at one time; Ross River Dena Council will continue to engage with the Chief Medical Officer of Health, the Department of Health and Social Services and the COVID Response Unit to help strengthen community-level support. 

These measures were introduced in response to the outbreak in Whitehorse and the presence of COVID-19 in multiple communities, including Ross River. Council continues to work with territorial health authorities and our neighbouring communities to monitor the situation and takes this matter very seriously. 

Other COVID-19 Considerations

Here are some additional considerations and resources to help keep Ross River safe:

  • If you or someone you know had really mild symptoms and recently tested negative for COVID-19 this is good news, however it is not the end of the story. If symptoms get worse in the days (and weeks) following a test, it’s a good idea to self-isolate and call the Health Centre at 969-4444 to arrange for another test – when it comes to COVID-19, it’s way better to be safe than sorry;
  • For the latest COVID-19 Self-Isolation Guidelines:;
  • If you see someone who was known to be self-isolating but may not be following the current the self-isolation guidelines, you can report this activity here;
  • If you live with others and are not able to self-isolate, please inform the Health Centre or Ross River Dena Council and efforts will be made to arrange for temporary self-isolation options; and
  • Anyone seeking mental health and wellness support are encouraged to call the LifeWorks Crisis Support Line at 1-844-751-2133 (open 24 hours, 7 days a week) or call (867) 332-5468 to reach the Mental Health, Counselling and Crisis Support Line for Ross River, Pelly Crossing, Carmacks and Faro citizens.

Volunteers Needed

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