Yukon’s Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Brendan Hanley has issued the following updates for the Yukon public on measures being taken in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
COVID-19 cases and recoveries
As of today, April 17, at 3 p.m. there is one new case of COVID-19 in the territory, bringing the total number of cases to nine. The new case is in Whitehorse and related to international travel. Contact tracing is underway.
Seven of the nine people who have contracted COVID-19 in Yukon have recovered and no one has had to go to a hospital.
Each case in Yukon so far can be traced to its origin and there continues to be no known community transmission in the territory. Community transmission is assumed to have occurred when it is no longer possible to trace how somebody became infected.
Information about COVID-19 tests is published on Yukon.ca. This includes how many confirmed cases there are in Yukon, how many tests have been negative, how many results are pending, the total number of tests and how many people have recovered.
Testing for COVID-19
Starting today, information about COVID-19 tests will be published daily on Yukon.ca.
Yukon continues to have an aggressive strategy for testing for COVID-19 but as the incidence of influenza and other respiratory illnesses lessens in the territory, fewer individuals need to be tested. Also, with fewer people coming into Yukon than before due to border restrictions, the risk of imported COVID-19 has substantially decreased.
The Chief Medical Officer of Health office is continually re-examining the testing strategy for Yukon to ensure there are mechanisms in place to protect the territory’s most vulnerable citizens as well as to look for signs of community transmission.
Rapid test kits
Within the next couple of weeks Yukon expects to have a GeneXpert rapid test kit set up and running. This will be for testing within a hospital setting rather than for general use and can provide results quickly on site. New Spartan Cube machines are also expected to arrive in Yukon around the end of May for portable, rapid testing in different health care settings around the territory.
The Government of Yukon will also continue to send tests to the BC Centre for Disease Control by air transport.
Communal living guidance
The Government of Yukon has produced a new guide to help operators prevent and manage COVID-19 in communal settings such as homeless shelters, women’s shelters, youth shelters, transition homes, group homes and hostels. The guidance includes topics such as education, cleaning, personal protective equipment and monitoring and reporting.
The document is called Guidance for the Prevention and Management of COVID-19 in Communal Living Settings and is now on Yukon.ca.
Keeping COVID-19 at bay
Yukoners have succeeded in creating an environment where COVID-19 has not spread and are strongly advised to keep it that way by following the six steps to staying safe. The six steps are: physical distancing; regular hand washing; staying home when sick; not gathering in groups of 10 or more; avoiding travel to communities and self-isolating when required.
To keep up to date with the latest information, Yukoners should visit Yukon.ca/COVID-19.