Premier Sandy Silver during a live update on the COVID-19 situation in Whitehorse on March 27. Silver told Yukoners on April 28 that the reopening of the territory will be a gradual process. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)

Premier says reopening of Yukon will be gradual

Number of COVID-19 cases in the Yukon holds steady

Premier Sandy Silver said the reopening of the Yukon will need to be a balancing act and part of a larger plan in dealing with COVID-19.

Silver and Dr. Brendan Hanley, the Yukon’s chief medical officer of health, gave some details on the work toward reopening and gave the current virus stats during the April 28 update.

The total number of cases remains at 11, with eight people fully recovered.

Silver said that reopening the territory would take planning and must be done with caution to not waste effort. Any action taken will have a public health foundation, Silver said, adding the measures to contain COVID-19 are working.

The process to roll back measures will be gradual, he said, and the health care system must also be prepared to handle reopening.

Silver reiterated that any policy related to COVID-19 would be formulated based on Hanley’s advice. He added that Yukoners would be updated as plans are solidified.

“It’s not time yet (to reopen),” Silver said. “We must be patient.”

Hanley said the Yukon is in a good place overall, though the territory cannot relax measures too soon or wait too long either.

To roll back measures, there needs to be a high testing capacity to remain ahead of any possible spread.

Earleir in the week the government announced it had received six ventilators from the Public Health Agency of Canada on April 27, bumping the territory’s total supply to 15.

Pauline Frost, the minister of health and social services, said the ventilators will be distributed between the Yukon Hospital Corporation and emergency medical services. Ventilators are important pieces of equipment, Frost said, but it is also paramount to have trained staff that know how to use them. The Whitehorse General Hospital has 30 nurses able to operate a ventilator.

Five of the new ventilators have been assigned to the Whitehorse General Hospital and the other was assigned to Emegency Medical Services (EMS). There will be a total of 11 ventilators at the Whitehorse General Hospital, one each in Dawson City and Watson Lake, and two assigned to EMS.

Frost also spoke about the Whitehorse Emergency Shelter. Precautions are being made to keep the facility safe, including sanitizing the bed areas, hand washing stations, and ensuring beds and services at the shelter meet social distancing parameters.

Overnight shelter guests will soon also be tested for COVID-19 symptoms now that a screening process has been developed. There is also a plan to have on-site testing for guests.

Officials are exploring ways to support and help isolate guests that are either experiencing COVID-19 symptoms or have been diagnosed with the virus.

Contact Gord Fortin at gord.fortin@yukon-news.com

Coronavirus

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

Just Posted

Members of the RCMP’s traffic services team examine police markers on Range Road after a six-year-old boy was struck by a vehicle near the Takhini Arena in Whitehorse on Oct. 25. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Six-year-old hit by vehicle near Takhini Arena

Police were called to the scene around 12:15 p.m. on Oct. 25

Dr. Brendan Hanley, Yukon’s chief medical officer of health, speaks to media at a press conference about COVID-19 in Whitehorse on March 30. Two new cases of COVID-19 were identified in Watson Lake over the weekend. The cases are connected to three others in the community previously announced by officials on Oct. 23. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Two additional COVID-19 cases in Watson Lake bring total up to five

Individuals with symptoms and connections to the three other cases were tested over the weekend

Dr. Brendan Hanley, Yukon’s chief medical officer of health, speaks to media at a press conference about COVID-19 in Whitehorse on March 30. The Yukon government announced three new cases of COVID-19 in Watson Lake on Oct. 23. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Three new COVID-19 cases identified in Watson Lake

The Yukon government has identified three locations in town where public exposure may have occurred

Teagan Wiebe, left, and Amie Wiebe pose for a photo with props during The Guild’s haunted house dress rehearsal on Oct. 23. The Heart of Riverdale Community Centre will be hosting its second annual Halloween haunted house on Oct. 30 and 31, with this year’s theme being a plague. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Plague-themed haunted house to take over Heart of Riverdale for Halloween

A plague will be descending upon the Heart of Riverdale Community Centre… Continue reading

The Yukon government is asking for all claims in a lawsuit over the Takhini elk herd be struck by the court. (Mike Thomas/Yukon News file)
Yukon government asks for Takhini elk lawsuit to be struck

The Yukon government is asking for all claims in a lawsuit over… Continue reading

The Yukon government has filed a reply to an outfitter’s petition challenging the reduction of its caribou quota to zero. (Yukon News file)
YG replies to outfitter’s legal challenge over caribou quota

The Yukon government has filed a reply to an outfitter’s petition challenging… Continue reading

The Yukon government is encouraging people to get the flu vaccine this year, saying that with COVID-19, it’s “more important than ever.” (Black Press file)
Get flu vaccine, Yukon government urges

The Yukon government is encouraging people to get the flu vaccine this… Continue reading

Benjamin Munn, 12, watches the HPV vaccine in 2013. Beginning Jan. 1, 2021, the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine will be available to all Yukoners up to, and including, age 26. Currently the program is only available to girls ages nine to 18 and boys ages nine to 14. (Dan Bates/Black Press file)
HPV vaccine will be available to Yukoners up to, including, age 26

Beginning Jan. 1, 2021, the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine will be available… Continue reading

Whitehorse City Hall. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
City hall, briefly

A look at decisions made by Whitehorse city council this week

asdf
COMMENTARY: Me and systemic racism

The view from a place of privilege

asdf
Today’s mailbox: Electricity and air travel

Letters to the editor published Oct. 23, 2020

Yukonomist Keith Halliday
Yukonomist: Irony versus Climate

Lately it seems like Irony has taken over as Editor-in-Chief at media… Continue reading