Three active COVID-19 outbreaks have been declared at the Whitehorse jail, the shelter and a long-term care home.
The Yukon’s department of Health and Social Services has confirmed the outbreaks at the Whitehorse Correctional Centre, the Whitehorse Emergency Shelter at 405 Alexander St. and Whistle Bend Place in Whitehorse.
In an email, Samantha Henney, COVID-19 communications manager for the department, said public outbreak notices are no longer being put out on a routine basis for settings in the Yukon.
“As the Yukon transitions to handling COVID-19 like other respiratory illnesses, the government of Yukon is cautiously shifting from the acute stage of the pandemic response to part of our ongoing work to support the public health of Yukoners,” Henney said.
“Public outbreak or exposure notices are not being issued as the government of Yukon communicates directly with impacted Yukoners in long-term care settings and their family, friends and loved ones to ensure they are aware of the routine outbreak management procedures that have been put in place to keep staff and residents safe.”
As part of the transition, Henney explained that a “more sustainable” reporting structure will be in place and the government will not be releasing specific case counts to each setting.
“Yukoners should expect there to be a risk of contracting COVID-19 in all settings within the Yukon, not just within outbreak settings,” Henney said.
The department told the News that chief medical officer of health Dr. Sudit Ranade declared an outbreak on July 15 at the long-term care home in Whistle Bend after several linked cases were identified.
A letter has been sent out to affected care-home staff, residents and families to notify them of the outbreak there.
“The impacted residents, staff and families are directly communicated with to ensure they are aware of the routine outbreak management procedures [that] have been put in place to keep staff and residents safe,” reads the department’s email.
According to the email, the care home is working with Ranade and Yukon Communicable Disease Control to execute evidence-informed recommendations to prevent further spread while minimizing the impact on people who live there.
Only one person is being permitted for in-person visits at the affected house, with the exception of essential and end-of-life visits.
Visitors are still allowed to visit unaffected houses while following the infection control measures in effect for long-term care homes. Those measures include answering screening questions, wearing the provided medical-grade masks and staying home when sick.
In the email, the health and safety of care-home residents, people who use the shelter and staff at each affected location are top priorities.
“We are working closely with the chief medical officer of health and Yukon Communicable Disease Control to contain the outbreak and ensure infection prevention” at the shelter, Henney said.
“We also strongly encourage Yukoners to stay home if they are experiencing symptoms and to wash their hands frequently.”
The outbreak at the jail was declared on July 21.
Contact Dana Hatherly at email@example.com