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 28, at 2 p.m. the case count remains at 11 cases of COVID-19 in the territory.
Eight of the 11 people who have contracted COVID-19 in Yukon have recovered and all others are doing well at home.
We can trace each case in Yukon so far to its origin which means there continues to be no known community spread in the territory. We assume community spread to have occurred when we can no longer trace how somebody became infected.
The Government of Yukon publishes information about COVID-19 tests daily 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.
We shared the new testing criteria we announced on Friday, April 24, with health care professionals over the weekend. They have now increased testing for people who have a broader range of symptoms and who have travelled outside Yukon.
We’ve also opened up testing to people who have not travelled. This allows us to test people from vulnerable populations including residents in long-term care homes and marginalized citizens who struggle with housing and day-to-day living.
As we move towards lightening the current restrictions we’re living under, we need to have the appropriate testing capacity in place to watch for community spread and to know where infection is and track where it’s been.
National Immunization Awareness Week
April 25 to May 2 is National Immunization Awareness Week. We want Yukoners to keep routine immunizations for children up to date. Delaying or missing scheduled vaccines puts children at risk for common and serious childhood infections such as measles and whooping cough. Protecting babies and children through vaccinations and reducing the risk of an outbreak of a disease that’s preventable by a vaccine is a public health priority. We have strategies in place across all Yukon health care centres to continue to deliver these services safely.
Don’t put your health on hold
The government launched a new campaign this week to remind Yukon residents that if they’re ill, they can still call their doctor, visit the health centre or go to the Emergency Department. Numbers of physician, health centre and emergency visits have dropped in recent weeks and we’re concerned that people who may be really ill or have legitimate health concerns are putting off that call or visit because of COVID-19.
Lifting of restrictions
Work continues on developing a national, coordinated approach to how and when to gradually ease restrictions put in place in response to the pandemic. Recognizing the different situations in each jurisdiction, changes will be implemented locally based on local circumstances. Planning for Yukon’s opening up strategy is underway led by the Premier’s office and following a public health framework developed by the Chief Medical Officer of Health, in coordination with federal and jurisdictional counterparts.
Some Yukon businesses have begun to reopen on their own initiative after changing their practices to comply with current public health advice. Retail operations may remain open as long as they have a plan in place to serve the public safely. Other establishments, such as bars, restaurants except for take out and delivery, recreation facilities and businesses offering personal services, remain closed under public health order. All closures and operating requirements will be reviewed as part of Yukon’s opening plan.
Businesses can view the cleaning guidelines that have been approved by the government’s environmental health services on Yukon.ca.
The ban on gatherings of more than 10 people refers to social gatherings rather than work environments. People within a workplace must space themselves appropriately and take increased hygiene precautions. The maximum number of people in a work space depends on the size of the establishment and not the absolute number.
Indoor gatherings should be limited to usual household members and close family members and should not exceed 10 people. Outdoor gatherings of 10 or fewer are allowed as long as people are appropriately spaced.
Six steps to staying safe
The six steps to staying safe and stopping the spread of COVID-19 are: physical distancing; regular hand washing; staying home when sick; not gathering in groups of more than 10; 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.