Families with children in child care programs are being advised to keep their children home, if possible, for the next two weeks.
In a June 27 statement, the territory’s Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Brendan Hanley issued the recommendation, noting the first true COVID-19 “wave” has hit the territory.
“This recommendation will reduce the number of children in attendance, allow for more distance between children and provide increased flexibility for staff to stay home if sick,” the statement reads, after noting several child care centres have been exposure locations, though not identifying which ones.
Day care operators will be reaching out directly to families with children who may have been exposed.
The stay-at-home recommendation does not apply to day camps.
It comes after 44 new cases were diagnosed in the territory since Friday, bringing the active case count up to 124 cases. The Yukon’s total case count is 308 since COVID-19 made its first appearance in 2020.
“COVID-19 is being widely transmitted throughout Yukon, primarily affecting unvaccinated people and is now present in most Yukon communities,” the release states. “Eleven of 14 communities are home to COVID-19 positive people.”
Outbreak announced at shelter
An outbreak has also been declared at the Whitehorse Emergency Shelter with approximately 15 cases confirmed among shelter guests and staff.
“Testing for COVID-19 is available for staff and guests on an ongoing basis,” the statement reads.
“The shelter has a COVID-19 operational plan and is working with Yukon Communicable Disease Control and the CMOH to ensure practices align with the evolving COVID-19 situation.”
Hospital restrictions in place
Also in place in light of the current situation are updated measures regarding access to hospitals in the territory. Yukoners are asked to only go to the emergency department if urgent care is required.
New visitor restrictions came into effect June 28 with no visitors or support people permitted with the exception of “a few, limited exceptions”.
Non-urgent services will be limited or postponed. That means some surgeries may be rescheduled, appointments for lab work may be delayed and other services may be adjusted or modified as required.
“You will be asked to wear a hospital-provided mask and keep it on in all areas of the hospital – even if you bring your own personal mask,” it says.
“This is to provide everyone the same level of protection. Expect these limited measures to be in place for two weeks and reassessed at that time.”
Hanley urges calm amid “first wave”
“COVID-19 continues to spread widely in Yukon, mostly amongst unvaccinated adults, youth and children. We now have an outbreak involving the Whitehorse Emergency Shelter. This is Yukon’s first true COVID wave,” Hanley said in a statement.
“We must pull together, by staying calm, and staying kind; sticking to six – keeping any informal gatherings to no more than six people; keeping your contacts small and consistent; strictly observing all current public health measures; and staying away from others and arranging for testing when you have symptoms.”
Symptoms include: fever, chills, cough, difficulty breathing, shortness of breath, runny nose, sore throat, loss of sense of taste or smell, headache, fatigue, loss of appetite, nausea and vomiting, diarrhea, muscle aches.
Anyone experiencing symptoms in Whitehorse should call the COVID-19 Testing and Assessment Centre at 867-393-3083 or book on-line to arrange for testing at https://book-covid-19-test.service.yukon.ca/en/. Drive-up testing is available in Whitehorse at the CTAC 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. daily at 49A Waterfront Place.
Those in communities should contact their rural community health centre for testing.
Contact Stephanie Waddell at firstname.lastname@example.org