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The Yukon government says an increase in COVID-19 cases with 34 new infections reported Thursday is a sign the Omicron variant is circulating in communities.

The territory says the highly transmissible variant is spreading at household gatherings, workplaces and events among vaccinated and unvaccinated people.

Catherine Elliott, acting chief medical officer, says in a statement that Yukon residents should limit gatherings to two households with small numbers.

It’s also “strongly recommended” that close contacts of people who test positive for COVID-19 isolate for seven days if they haven’t received a booster dose of a vaccine.

It says Omicron incubates quickly and transmits early, including among vaccinated people, and it’s also recommending that people who are fully vaccinated with a booster dose avoid close contact with anyone who tests positive for COVID-19.

The territory says a close contact means anyone who was within two metres of someone who is infectious for a combined total of 15 minutes or more in a 24-hour period.

Yukon says those contacts may stop self-isolating after seven days if they aren’t experiencing symptoms, but they should continue to monitor themselves.

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