Much work at the Whitehorse shelter has happened to put in place the requirements for adherence to the public health prevention measures, according to the chief medical officer of health. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)

Shelter efforts around COVID-19 outlined

Public Health Agency of Canada recommendations being followed

Yukon Department of Health and Social Services officials say recommendations from the Public Health Agency of Canada are being followed at the Whitehorse Emergency Shelter in response to COVID-19.

Asked by the News what protocols are in place and any changes that have been made at the shelter, department spokesperson Pat Living responded with a link to a website detailing the recommendations.

Among those recommendations are physical distancing measures aimed at keeping people at least two metres apart, including with sleeping mats.

There’s also clear cleaning requirements outlined such as washing laundry with hot water between 60 and 90 C, ongoing education with signage to wash hands and more. Staff are expected to model the physical distancing requirements.

Full details are available at

Chief Medical Officer of Health Brendan Hanley spoke briefly to the efforts underway at the shelter during an April 22 media briefing, noting there’s been “much, much work at the Whitehorse shelter to put in place the requirements for adherence to the public health prevention measures such as physical distancing at the same time to support the people that need the shelter in terms of meal planning, physical spacing, number of people admitted at a time, alternative supports for people if the building is at capacity, (and) temporary accommodations.”

He went on to state that efforts are underway to look at the situation outside the building. He noted the department recognizes there are concerns around spacing outside of the shelter with the weather warming up.

“Measures are being looked at to address that situation as well by social services and with the support of some of the personnel at the emergency operations centre here to make sure that both the supports are there that are necessary, but also the adherence to physical spacing,” Hanley said.

It was not specified what those measures may be.

Contact Stephanie Waddell at

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