Premier Sandy Silver, left, and Yukon’s Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Brendan Hanley speak at a COVID-19 update press conference in Whitehorse on Nov. 19. Hanley and Silver gave holiday advice to Yukoners celebrating around town or welcoming friends and family for a visit during the latest COVID-19 update on Dec. 8. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)

Premier Sandy Silver, left, and Yukon’s Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Brendan Hanley speak at a COVID-19 update press conference in Whitehorse on Nov. 19. Hanley and Silver gave holiday advice to Yukoners celebrating around town or welcoming friends and family for a visit during the latest COVID-19 update on Dec. 8. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)

As case count creeps upward, government officials give holiday advice

New measure requires bars and restaurants take down contact info

As the Yukon’s case total edges upward to 58, Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Brendan Hanley and Premier Sandy Silver gave out holiday advice to Yukoners celebrating around town or welcoming friends and family for a visit.

The Yukon has seen an additional 10 cases since the last weekly update. The most recent three cases, confirmed on Dec. 4 and 5 but made public on Dec. 7 have been successfully traced back to previous cases and are recovering in self-isolation at home.

“I expect we will continue to see new cases emerge amongst contacts of cases today. This is normal until we can identify and isolate the last people in the chain of transmission,” Hanley said.

“We have not seen an explosion of cases over the last week. We’ve seen these little pop-up cases that are, for the most part, already known contacts or tied into the outbreak. So in other words, we’re doing pretty well,” Hanley added.

Hanley said all active cases are in Whitehorse except for the latest, case #58, which is in a rural community but traced back to the other cases. The government has decided not to reveal the location to the public, citing privacy concerns.

“The individual was a known contact and already self-isolating safely, and thus there is no risk to the public and the community associated with this recent case,” said Hanley.

As of Dec. 7 the government has also mandated that bars and restaurants keep a sign-in sheet for patrons in order to facilitate contact tracing. The businesses will be collecting names and contact information for each household.

The government said the information will only be used by Yukon Communicable Disease Control when required and will be disposed of within 30 days.

“We need to be as prepared as we can for further surges in case activity, or perhaps a widespread outbreak,” he said.

“We know that bars and restaurants can be higher risk areas of transmission, as it is an indoor setting where the public are able to mix. Now as people drink alcohol, the level of awareness may decrease, leading perhaps to a lack of physical distancing,” Hanley said, adding that people must remain vigilant and listen to staff and management.

Mandatory masks were implemented on Dec. 1. So far, the government has not laid any charges against individuals for failure to comply with the order. Thirteen complaints about failure to wear a mask have been received.

“I want to thank all of those who have been wearing masks in public. It’s very great to see. It signals that you care about your fellow Yukoners and want to keep them safe. We are absolutely not out of the woods yet,” Silver said.

The Yukon government has also extended the state of emergency an additional 90 days.

“The state of emergency may be cancelled at any time,” Silver said. “Though our government believes it may be required so long as the pandemic continues to pose a risk to the health, safety and the livelihood of Yukoners.”

Silver and Hanley also clarified the rules around self-isolation for those having visitors to stay for the holidays.

Right now visitors from Outside must isolate for 14 days in Whitehorse, unless they are a Yukon resident with a home outside the city or are isolating with a Yukon family member who lives outside the city.

The current advice is that Yukoners can either quarantine for 14 days with their guest or, if their home layout permits, can have their guest self-isolate separately from the family.

If a guest leaves before 14 days of self-isolation, the members of the household must self-isolate for three days afterward and monitor for symptoms. If the guest and the self-isolating family do not have symptoms after three days, self-isolation can end.

Hanley explained the shorter isolation period measures are based on the infectious period of the virus. Hanley said most people who contract the virus are still infectious up to three days before they exhibit any symptoms.

“I know we think of 10 days and 14 days and three days, and what’s the reason for all this? But really, it’s based on that three-day potential for transmission of disease in that pre-symptomatic period,” he said.

Contact Haley Ritchie at haley.ritchie@yukon-news.com

Coronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Inside the courtroom in Whitehorse, Chief Electoral Officer Max Harvey, Vuntut Gwitchin returning officer Renee Charlie and Supreme Court Judge Suzanne Duncan open the box containing the names of the tied candidates. (Haley Ritchie/Yukon News)
Annie Blake elected as MLA for Vuntut Gwitchin after name draw

“I’m still feeling shocked that my name was drawn, I feel overwhelmed.”

Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Brendan Hanley. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
New COVID-19 case confirmed in rural Yukon community

An exposure notification has been issued for Andrea’s Restaurant in Watson Lake

Food trucks gather on Steele Street between Front and Second for the annual Street Eats Festival in Whitehorse on August 12, 2019. (Julien Gignac/Yukon News file)
May 1 could mark the start of the 2021 food truck season

Lottery for downtown sites set for April 28

Wyatt's World
WYATT’S WORLD

Wyatt’s World for April 16, 2021.… Continue reading

From left to right, Pascale Marceau and Eva Capozzola departed for Kluane National Park on April 12. The duo is taking on the first all-woman expedition to Mt. Lucania. (Michael Schmidt/Icefield Discovery)
First all-woman team among mountaineers heading to Kluane National Park

One team will be exploring Mt. Logan while a second all-woman team aims for Mt. Lucania summit

Crystal Schick/Yukon News Whitehorse International Airport in Whitehorse on May 6, 2020.
NAV CANADA suspends review for Whitehorse airport traffic control

NAV CANADA announced on April 15 that it is no longer considering… Continue reading

A bulldozer levels piles of garbage at the Whitehorse landfill in January 2012. (Ian Stewart/Yukon News file)
Rural dump closures and tipping fees raise concern from small communities

The government has said the measures are a cost-cutting necessity

lwtters
Today’s Mailbox: Rent freezes and the youth vote

Dear Editor, I read the article regarding the recommendations by the Yukon… Continue reading

Whitehorse City Hall (Yukon News file)
City news, briefly

A look at city council matters for the week of April 12

Joel Krahn/joelkran.com Hikers traverse the Chilkoot Trail in September 2015. Alaska side.
The Canadian side of the Chilkoot Trail will open for summer

The Canadian side of the Chilkoot Trail will open for summer Parks… Continue reading

Letters to the editor.
Today’s mailbox: Hands of Hope, the quilt of poppies

Toilets are important Ed. note: Hands of Hope is a Whitehorse-based non-profit… Continue reading

École Whitehorse Elementary Grade 7 students Yumi Traynor and Oscar Wolosewich participated in the Civix Student Vote in Whitehorse on April 12. (Haley Ritchie/Yukon News)
Yukon Student Vote chooses Yukon Party government; NDP take popular vote

The initiative is organized by national non-profit CIVIX

Yvonne Clarke is the newly elected Yukon Party MLA for Porter Creek Centre. (Submitted/Yukon Party)
Yvonne Clarke elected as first Filipina MLA in the Yukon Legislative Assembly

Clarke beat incumbent Liberal Paolo Gallina in Porter Creek Centre

Most Read