The Yukon government has announced new funding to help people with disabilities during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Premier Sandy Silver and the Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Brendan Hanley provided information on this program as well as information on phase two of the reopening plan.
Silver announced that eligible families can receive between an extra $250 and $400 per month.
This money is meant to help pay for supports, since there have been less services available during the pandemic.
“I’m very happy to be able to offer this financial support,” Silver said.
Silver also addressed a flight from Seattle to Fairbanks, Alaska, that experienced techincal issues and was forced to land in Whitehorse. Silver said staff at the airport were able to act quickly and develop a plan to get the flight up and running again, without having the passengers out in the community.
Hanley said he has heard mixed feedback on the territory’s planned start date of phase two the reopening plan on phase two. He has heard some positive feedback on the July 1 date saying it has gone over “like a sip of cool water after a long thirst”.
Others have voiced concerns that the territory is moving too fast saying, “why mess with a good thing?” and expand the social circle.
Hanley explained that the Yukon can’t just keep to itself, as this is leading to some mental health concerns, citing increased drug use and overdoses.
“The cold reality is that we cannot live in this false bubble for long,” Hanley said. “We simply cannot sustain the human, the health, the social and the economic costs. Each of these elements is an essential part or vital to a healthy society.”
He likened the situation to living in a cocoon, which initially provided protection from the virus but now is responsible for more suffering than COVID-19.
Hanley said it was more than just mental health issues necessitating a change. He said some of the measures were having an impact on civil rights and businesses are suffering.
“There is no easy way out,” he said.
He explained that this cannot continue and said that the territory is able to contain the virus and test for it, adding there are plans in place and resources available for acute care.
There are enough staff on hand and the supply of personal protective equipment is adequate.
Hanley explained the Yukon will be looking at the national COVID-19 numbers, as well as the ones from the neighbouring jurisdictions, British Columbia, Alberta and the Northwest Territories.
If the COVID-19 numbers go up in any of these jurisdictions, he said the Yukon will reconsider kicking off phase two if needed.
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