No new cases of COVID-19 were reported in the Yukon over the Easter long weekend.
Even with the beautiful weather, Yukoners appeared to largely be complying with precautions and rules intended to prevent the local spread of the disease, Premier Sandy Silver and chief medical officer of health Dr. Brendan Hanley said at a press conference April 14.
Silver said enforcement officers received only five complaints over the weekend with no fines issued.
The Yukon’s total count of COVID-19 cases, as of the afternoon of April 13, remained at eight, with six of those now considered recovered. Overall, the Yukon has tested 832 people for COVID-19, with the results of 18 tests still pending.
Both Silver and Hanley emphasized, however, that the situation is far from over and continued compliance with recommendations and orders is still needed.
“My message for Yukoners right now is we still have a long road ahead of us in the fight against COVID-19,” Silver said. “We are seeing signs across the country that physical distancing is working and that does give me a lot of hope in the territory… I recognize the hardships that everyone is experiencing by continuing with these restriction methods and I’m certainly looking forward to the day when I can sit here and announce that they’re ending, but we can’t do it until it’s safe and we aren’t there yet.”
Hanley said that although there remains no evidence of community transmission, it’s important that Yukoners think and act as if the disease is in the community, and what everyone can do to prevent its spread.
He highlighted six key practices — physical distancing, hand washing, staying at home and “out of the way” if you’re sick, limiting gatherings to 10 people or less, limiting travel to the communities for essential purposes only and self-isolating when required to do so.
“When you travel in, you must register and then go directly to your home or other agreed-upon place of isolation,” Hanley said of the last item. “Do not stop at the grocery store, do not pass go, do not collect $200.”
He noted that while the limit of 10 people applies to workspaces as well, the number may be more than 10 if the space is big enough and proper physical distancing can be observed.
He also addressed questions about what activities are or aren’t acceptable in the current milieu.
“As we continue on this COVID journey, we can develop lists for the type of activities are okay and those that are not,” Hanley said. “But if there’s one phrase we should become more comfortable with, it’s, ‘Even if you don’t have to stay at home, stay close to home.’ We can never describe every scenario but I think we’ll all get better at judging which events carry too much risk at this point to continue.
“For example, a dinner party is just not a good idea, but two or three friends meeting over coffee while observing all the above rules is okay. Kids playing outside while supervised to keep their distance is totally fine. Outdoors in general is a better place to carry out any social activity.”
Hanley said later that while enforcing physical distancing as a legally-enforceable order is something that’s on the table, it’s not an option he’s considering implementing in the near future as compliance with the recommendation so far has been good.
Contact Jackie Hong at firstname.lastname@example.org