As case count of zero continues in the Yukon and cases fall across most of the country, Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Brendan Hanley had an optimistic message on June 2.
“For the majority of the country, apart from Manitoba, cases are declining,” said Hanley. “The risk of seeing a large outbreak in the Yukon is relatively low. A population vaccinated as highly as we are means the chance of people suffering serious outcomes is dramatically lower.
“We are poised for further relaxations of our restrictions in the near future,” he said.
This week the youth vaccination rollout began in Faro, Watson Lake and Whitehorse. Premier Sandy Silver said youth can book appointments in Carcross and Tagish later this week at yukon.ca/this-is-our-shot.
Clinics in Haines Junction, Mayo, Pelly Crossing, Carmacks, Dawson City, Teslin, Old Crow and Ross River will be bookable in the coming days.
Hanley said the participation has been positive, and he named 13-year-old Hunter Went, who was one of the first youth to be vaccinated, in the press conference.
“I hope this young fellow is incredibly proud to be part of this historic moment,” said Hanley. “If the youth join us in aiming for 75 per cent plus then we can be confident that we can move and gather with much more freedom this summer.”
Hanley said the vaccination of youth will help protect seniors and those unable to get the vaccine.
“I want to thank all of the youth who have already stepped up to take their shot,” Silver said. “Immunizing our youth will lead to a dramatic reduction in the risk of spreading COVID-19 in the territory.”
Hanley has provided new suggestions for further lifting restrictions. Silver said public service is working on bringing those forward.
Upcoming changes include self-isolation rules for youth. It’s expected that youth who are under 12 (and therefore unable to receive vaccination) will not need to self-isolate when returning from Outside travel with fully vaccinated parents or guardians.
Hanley said the changes were suggested based on the reduced risk of transmission.
“I know that many Yukoners are anxious to travel and visit family that they have not seen for months,” said Silver, adding that it is still necessary to follow travel guidelines in other jurisdictions.
“We are ahead of the curve here in the Yukon and we need to keep it up,” said Silver.
Silver said further adjustments will also be made to regulations for bars and restaurants.
“We received some very helpful feedback [from the industry] that will inform updates to the guidelines in the coming weeks,” said Silver.
Contact Haley Ritchie at email@example.com