Information about coronavirus disease (COVID-19) for Yukoners Find reliable information about the coronavirus (COVID-19) in Yukon and Canada. https://yukon.ca/en/updates#current-situation
Updates on COVID-19 from the Office of the Chief Medical Officer of Health March 22, 2020 – Update on COVID-19 Yukon’s Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Brendan Hanley has the following updates on measures being taken in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
COVID-19 cases As of today, March 22, at 7 p.m. there are 2 cases of COVID-19 in Yukon.
COVID-19 test results Yukon is now seeing a faster turnaround time on COVID-19 test results. By early this coming week, the number of completed tests on Yukon.ca will be updated 3 times a week.
Non-essential travel outside of territory and into rural Yukon In an effort to limit the spread of COVID-19 and to protect Yukon’s most vulnerable citizens, Yukon’s Chief Medical Officer of Health strongly advises the suspension of all non-essential travel into and out of Yukon.
All Yukoners planning to return home in the next 30 days are advised to return now. In view of the need to protect remote areas with limited medical resources, Yukon’s Chief Medical Officer of Health strongly advises the suspension of any non-essential travel to Yukon’s rural communities, Self-isolation required for all travellers
DRAFTJS_BLOCK_KEY:ep570Information about coronavirus disease (COVID-19) for Yukoners Find reliable information about the coronavirus (COVID-19) in Yukon and
All Yukoners returning home and all visitors to the territory are required to self-isolate for 14 days. This includes anyone returning home from other provinces and territories by road or air, as well as Yukoners returning home by road from Alaska. We are putting mechanisms in place to monitor and ensure travellers are self-isolating.
If you cannot safely self-isolate at home, email email@example.com for information and advice. All Yukoners who return home and have respiratory symptoms (cough, fever, or difficulty breathing) are asked to phone 811 to get advice on COVID-19 testing.
Restaurants and bars Restaurants must immediately reduce their seating capacity to 50%, space people 2 metres apart, and prepare to offer take-out and delivery service only as of opening on March 26. As of closing time tonight, March 22, all bars must close until further notice. All personal service establishments must close by end of day, Wednesday, March 25. This includes hair salons, barber shops, tattoo parlors, nail salons, and massage therapists.
Gatherings Gatherings of more than 10 people are banned. Smaller gatherings should ensure spacing of 2 metres between people. Yukoners should not attend any soci
al gatherings, even those with fewer than 10 people if: you have any flu-like symptoms at all; you are over 65 years of age or have an underlying health condition; or you work in healthcare, a healthcare facility or other essential services. March 19, 2020 – Health supports, hospitals and child care programs
Yukon’s Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Brendan Hanley has the following updates for the Yukon public on measures being taken in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. COVID-19 cases As of today, March 20, at 9:30 a.m. there are no cases of COVID-19 in Yukon.
COVID-19 test results Yukon is now receiving COVID-19 test results back from BC more quickly. For now, we will be publishing how many tests have been completed on Yukon.ca on a weekly basis. Information about first cases would be shared with Yukoners as soon as possible.
Hospital visits Whitehorse General Hospital will suspend all scheduled,
non-urgent surgery procedures from Monday, March 23, 2020. They will continue to provide surgical care for urgent and emergency cases. Anyone with an appointment will be contacted individually by the hospital to let them know and to help them with any questions.
Yukoners may also be aware that no visitors are allowed at the territory’s three hospitals with limited exceptions. Screening is in place at all hospitals, asking anyone coming to hospital about the reason for their visit, symptoms and travel history.
Child care programs Day cares and child care centres do not need to close. Child care programs are considered to be an essential service that should remain in place as long as possible. They provide access to social supports particularly for vulnerable children and families and for parents who are themselves providing essential services to help keep Yukoners safe. Daycare operators have been briefed on safe social distancing measures within a daycare environment.
811 changes coming In the coming day or so, people calling 811 for COVID-19 advice will have two options: they will be able speak to the Public Health Agency of Canada; or if they have COVID-19 symptoms and have travelled internationally within the last 14 days, or if they have symptoms and have come in contact with an individual with a confirmed case of COVID-19, they can speak to staff at Yukon Communicable
Disease Control (YCDC). The symptoms of COVID-19 include a fever, cough or shortness of breath, or difficulty breathing. People can also still call 811 for non-COVID-19 health advice in the usual way.
Yukoners are reminded that they can now access an online self-assessment tool on Yukon.ca/novel-coronavirus if they have concerns about COVID-19. Information on Yukon.ca continues to be expanded to provide support for Yukoners. Yukon.ca is the central place to find information about the territory’s response to COVID-19.
Respiratory assessment centre As announced on Thursday, March 19, the Government of Yukon is setting up a respiratory assessment centre in Whitehorse for people with acute respiratory illness such as influenza or COVID-19 who need medical assessment. March 18, 2020 – Chief Medical Officer of Health declares public health emergency Dr. Brendan Hanley, Yukon’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, today declared a public health emergency under section 4.3 of the Public Health and Safety Act. This declaration enables the Chief Medical Officer of Health to respond more quickly to the rapidly changing situation and to ensure the health and safety of Yukoners. The public health emergency will be in effect until further notice.
This declaration comes with new public health measures aimed at protecting Yukoners and limiting the spread of COVID-19:
Classes are suspended at all Yukon public schools until April 15, or until further notice. All public indoor recreational facilities are required to close until further notice. This includes the Canada Games Centre, ice rinks, and recreation centres. All three Yukon hospitals are closed to visitors, with limited exceptions.
Libraries are closed until further notice. March 16, 2020 – Updates on travel and mass gathering Yukon’s Chief Medical Officer of Health is telling all individuals who have travelled outside of Canada in the last 14 days to self-isolate. This includes travel to Alaska.
Individuals who have travelled outside of Yukon in the last 14 days, or who are feeling sick, are banned from visiting hospitals.
Long-term care facilities are closed to visitors and volunteers, unless family members are at the end of life or gravely ill regardless of travel. These restrictions are accompanied by several others including the following: Mass gatherings of more than 50 people are banned, including at houses of worship. Parents or caregivers who are able to keep their children home from spring break daycamps, or daycare, are requested to do so. Fewer children in camps or daycares will help to limit any spread. People who can work from home are requested to do so. Employers are asked to look for ways to support employees to work from home where possible.
Many of us are interested in how COVID-19 is spread from one person to another. As an emerging disease, there are many uncertainties about its characteristics. The information that we communicate today is the best knowledge at this time. This knowledge does change and get out of date rapidly, and we are keeping updated and adjusting our response accordingly. We must all be cautious and patient as the information changes.
Current evidence supports that the main route of COVID-19 spread is from person-to-person through respiratory droplets when an infected person sneezes or coughs. The risk of transmission is believed to be highest when the person is most symptomatic. However recent evidence and modeling suggests that transmission may occur prior to symptoms being present. Major uncertainties remain in the role that asymptomatic transmission may play in the spread of COVID-19. At this time in Yukon, we are recommending self-isolation for all travelers from international destinations, even those without symptoms. This precautionary measure is important as we are working with an illness that is not fully understood.
All people returning from international travel should self-isolate for 14 days. This means that they should stay home or in the outdoors where they can be 2 metres away from other people. See the Government of Canada webpage for more information.
We are asking all people throughout Yukon to do their part to keep Yukon healthy. Please continue to practice good hand hygiene and cough etiquette. Please be especially considerate of people over 65 years old and people who have underlying medical conditions who are at highest risk of severe complications of respiratory infections including influenza and COVID-19. Persons who are returning from travel outside Canada and have any cough or sensation of fever, even mild, should consider themselves infectious and be extra cautious with their self-isolation and distancing from those at highest risk of severe infection. In that case please self-isolate and call YCDC at 867-667-8323 or 1-800-661-0408 ext. 8323.
The situation with COVID-19 is fluid and we continue to upd
ate our guidance based on the latest information. We will continue to provide the public regular updates as the situation continues to evolve. Yours in health, Dr. Catherine Elliott, MD FRCPC
March 11, 2020 – Coronavirus updates There have been many questions from Yukoners today who attended, live closely with, or work with someone who attended the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada conference in Toronto from March 1 to 4, 2020.
Yukoners who attended the conference may have been exposed to COVID-19. Symptoms of COVID-19 include a cough, fever or shortness of breath. If you don’t have these symptoms, then you can go about your regular day-to-day activities. This includes attending work, classes, events and other activities. However, if you develop any of the symptoms listed above, then please stay home and contact Yukon Communicable Disease Control at 1-867-667-8323 to arrange for testing.
It is important to remember people who have no symptoms cannot pass COVID-19 on to others. It is normal for people to be afraid of contagious diseases. We all want to protect our families, friends and communities. However, fear can cause us to make unwise decisions like spreading misinformation, or hoarding food and medications.
Please remember that the risk of COVID-19 infection for Yukoners remains low, and the majority of individuals who contract the disease will have mild symptoms. We will continue to provide regular updates as the situation evolves. Yours in health, Dr. Catherine Elliott, MD FRCPC
March 7, 2020 – Cancellation of 2020 Arctic Winter Games It is out of an abundance of caution that today, as the Chief Medical Officer of Health, responsible for public health in Yukon, I have recommended the cancellation of the 2020 Arctic Winter Games that were scheduled to be held here in Whitehorse beginning next week.
I am making this recommendation out of concern for the health and safety of Yukoners, of all athletes and delegates and for their home communities throughout the circumpolar North.
COVID-19 is a contagious disease that spreads from person to person rapidly through respiratory secretions. In a setting like the Arctic Winter Games, where people are sleeping, eating and playing together in such close quarters, the potential to spread is amplified greatly. Even in the absence of COVID-19 here, a single suspected case would have serious impacts. For example, a person with a cough who has travelled to the games would need to be tested and isolated while awaiting results. The necessity for rapid and rigorous public health response, for the individual, for the contacts, diagnosis and isolation while waiting for even a negative result, the potential for fear, concern here and throughout the North, these would be challenging in the setting of Arctic Winter Games in Whitehorse.
The possibility of importation of the disease is changing and raises much uncertainty. While there is no case of COVID-19 in Yukon, other places are seeing community spread with no explanation of how or why. We have been surprised by cases in BC, Alberta and Washing
ton State that have no links to diagnosed cases nor travel history to affected areas. The global spread of COVID-19 has been faster and more uncertain than many of us have expected and we must take the necessary steps to protect ourselves, our citizens and others.
In Yukon, we are already responding to the potential threat of COVID-19. We are taking advantage of this time when the risk is low to mobilize our public health response and our preparedness for potential impacts on acute care services. We are actively monitoring for cases, leveraging existing influenza surveillance systems. We are ready to ensure excellent medical care in a way that protects the health of our population should COVID-19 arrive here.
It is with a heavy heart that I make this recommendation. The Arctic Winter Games is an event that brings together so many northerners from across Canada and other circumpolar regions to celebrate sport, art and culture. It demonstrates the beauty, strength and cohesion of northern peoples. This beauty, strength and cohesion must remain strong through today’s announcement and the coming days.
Catherine Elliott, MD MHSc FRCPC Trusted sources of information Chief Medical Officer of Health Previous updates on coronavirus
Government of Canada COVID-19: outbreak update