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, May 19, at 2 p.m. the case count remains at 11 cases of COVID-19 in the territory.
All of the 11 people who have contracted COVID-19 in Yukon have recovered. There are no active cases in the territory and 1,134 people have been tested. We have had no new cases since April 20.
We have traced 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 has occurred when we can no longer trace how somebody became infected.
We update information about COVID-19 cases and tests every weekday on Yukon.ca, except public holidays. The information we publish 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.
As from May 15, 2020, the territory is now in Phase 1 of the Government of Yukon’s reopening plan, A Path Forward. This means we can all now choose one other household to join up with and not have to practise physical distancing with people in that household. Once we’ve chosen a household to pair with we cannot change to another pairing.
It’s acceptable if the number of people in the two households is more than 10 but we must continue to avoid gathering in social groups of more than 10 other than that. We must also continue to keep a physical distance of two metres (six feet) from anyone not in our two households.
There’s more information in the combined household guidelines on Yukon.ca.
Reopening businesses and services
Being in Phase 1 of the reopening plan means that businesses and service providers that weren’t ordered to close may operate as long as they have a COVID-19 operational plan and have put safety precautions in place.
Recreational programming such as sporting events and day camps are possible but organizers need to have an approved plan in place.
Businesses such as personal services and restaurants that were ordered to close will be able to open up again once they’ve prepared operational plans based on the guidelines we’re developing and had them approved.
Restaurants can meanwhile continue to provide take-out and delivery services but must submit an operational plan to the government by May 29. Guidelines for restaurants planning to restore table service will be available in the coming days.
All other employers are also required to complete COVID-19 operational plans and have them available for inspection but these don’t need to be submitted for approval.
Businesses, employers and event organizers can find more information about the steps they need to take and where to send their plans for review or approval on the “Operating businesses, services and events safely during COVID-19” page of Yukon.ca.
As soon as we complete guidelines we publish them on the “Guidelines and recommendations” page of Yukon.ca.
A change to the six steps to staying safe
Now that we’re in Phase 1, we’ve changed our guidance that said avoid travel to communities to instead asking people to limit travel to communities. Communities are particularly vulnerable during the pandemic and we ask Yukoners to travel within the territory as respectfully and safely as possible.
The updated 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; limiting travel to communities and self-isolating when required.
Moving through reopening phases
We’ll make decisions about moving to the next phase of the reopening plan in a gradual, cautious and objective way with at least two to four weeks between each phase. This means we’ll have time to detect changes in the pandemic situation and evaluate the risks of the steps we’ve taken so far and how safe it is to move to the next stage. This is why we’re not committing to fixed dates. We’ll keep Yukoners informed at every step of the way.
The six criteria we’re basing our decisions on are: community engagement, preventative measures, public health capacity, importation risk, health system capacity, and virus spread and containment. The Government of Yukon will make decisions in consultation with Yukon’s Chief Medical Officer of Health.
The phases of the plan are: Phase 1 – restart; Phase 2 – recover; and Phase 3 – new normal. We also have Phase 0: response, which is the phase we were in until May 15 and, to be prepared in case the situation in Yukon backtracks and we need to impose restrictions again, we also have a Phase minus 1 – worsened state.
The full plan is published on Yukon.ca.
We recognize that staying home during the pandemic is not safe for everyone. Support is available for anyone who’s not safe at home because of partner violence, family violence or sexualized violence.
Victim Services can work with people to explore options based on their circumstances, help them make a safety plan and access safe shelter if they need it. To contact Victim Services, call toll free 1-800-661-0408, extension 8500.
Staff at the Women’s Transition home in Whitehorse, the Dawson Women’s Shelter or Help and Hope for families in Watson Lake can also help. If anyone needs immediate help they should call 9-1-1.
To keep up to date with the latest information, Yukoners should visit Yukon.ca/COVID-19.