Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Brendan Hanley presents Yukon government’s COVID-19 pandemic modelling systems and answers questions from the media during a press conference in Whitehorse on May 26. (Alistair Maitland Photography)

Yukon government presents COVID-19 modelling systems

Chief medical officer says modelling shows measures worked

The Yukon government held a technical briefing about its COVID-19 pandemic modelling systems on May 26.

Dr. Brendan Hanley, the chief medical officer of health, presented the models and answered questions from the media.

He said the models are mathematical tools used to help predict and track disease progression. These models are used to help guess what could have happened if the government had taken different actions.

The government used two types of models, compartmental and agent-based.

Compartmental models are also called SEIR (susceptible, exposed, infected, recovered) models.

They look at the population in four categories, listed above. This model operated under the assumption that the virus is in the community, is spreading and people stay in the same compartments.

Hanley said some of the provinces have used this model.

Agent-based models are more complex and need more computational power. This model focuses on the individual level and builds up, rather than focusing on the population. It aims to predict population effects based on individual behaviours.

The Yukon looked at three scenarios.

The first one covered what would happen if the government took no action. Based on the assumption one infected person would transmit it to approximately 2.4 people, the model estimated there would be 639 active cases and 1,946 cumulative cases 66 days into the pandemic.

This scenario assumed the first case would be in mid-March and predicted there would be 77 people in need of a hospital bed and 23 people in need of an intensive care bed.

“This is clearly enough to be more than what our health care system could contain,” Hanley said.

The second scenario looked at what could have happened if the government had issued public health measures two weeks after the first case was discovered.

Again, the assumption was that an infected person would transmit the virus to 2.4 people before the measures were enacted, and an average of 0.62 people 14 days after measures were implemented.

The findings were an estimated 67 cumulative cases, with 15 active cases around 29 days into the pandemic, and four active cases 66 days in.

“You can see even if we had a lag time between introduction and implementation of public health measure, it would have had a profound affect,” Hanley said.

The third scenario looked at implementing public health measures before the first case was discovered. This assumed that one person would infect an average of 0.62 people.

Because this scenario eliminated community spread and contained cases, these models cannot provide future numbers.

“If we are at less that one (case), we can extinguish the epidemic,” Hanley said.

Hanley said these models can be useful to help determine what should or should not be done when considering relaxing or increasing preventative measures. It shows possible consequences of relaxing restrictions, which in turn, he explained, should better educate decision-makers of the risks.

“I hope to be able to use modelling to help us balance COVID prevention with prevention of unintended consequences (of preventative measures),” Hanley said.

He said he feels the data has clearly shown that the territory’s actions are working.

Hanley said the territory will look at other predictive models. This includes the virus importation risk and what a resurgence of COVID-19 or the second wave would look like.

The next update will be on May 29 at 2 p.m. and will allow Yukoners to send in questions directly to both Hanley and Premier Sandy Silver. Questions can be submitted by email to covid19info@gov.yk.ca with “virtual town hall” in the subject line.

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

Team Yukon skip Laura Eby, left, directs her team as Team Northern Ontario skip Krysta Burns looks on at the Scotties Tournament of Hearts in Calgary on Feb. 22. (Jeff McIntosh/CP)
Team Yukon reports positive experience at Scotties

Team Yukon played their final game at the national championship in Calgary on Thursday afternoon

A sign indicating a drop-off area behind Selkirk Elementary school in Whitehorse on Feb. 25. (Haley Ritchie/Yukon News)
Parking lot proposal for Selkirk Elementary criticized

Parents and school council are raising concerns about green space and traffic woes

adsf
WYATT’S WORLD

Wyatt’s World for Feb. 26, 2021

Ken Anderson’s Sun and Moon model sculpture sits in the snow as he carves away at the real life sculpture behind Kwanlin Dün Cultural Centre for the Yukon Sourdough Rendezvous festival in Whitehorse on Feb. 21, 2018. Yukon Rendezvous weekend kicks off today with a series of outdoor, virtual and staged events. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Rendezvous snowpad, live music and fireworks this weekend

A round-up of events taking place for the 2021 Rendezvous weekend

Yukon Energy in Whitehorse on Aug. 4, 2020. The proposed Atlin Hydro Expansion project is moving closer to development with a number of milestones reached by the Tlingit Homeland Energy Limited Partnership and Yukon Energy over the last several months. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Atlin hydro project progresses

Officials reflect on milestones reached

Tom Ullyett, pictured, is the first Yukoner to receive the Louis St-Laurent Award of Excellence from the Canadian Bar Association for his work as a community builder and mentor in the territory. (Gabrielle Plonka/Yukon News)
Tom Ullyett wins lifetime achievement award from the Canadian Bar Association

Ullyett has worked in the Yukon’s justice ecosystem for 36 years as a public sector lawyer and mentor

The Blood Ties outreach van will now run seven nights a week, thanks to a boost in government funding. Logan Godin, coordinator, and Jesse Whelen, harm reduction counsellor, are seen here on May 12, 2020. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Blood Ties outreach van running seven nights a week with funding boost

The Yukon government is ramping up overdose response, considering safe supply plan

Ranj Pillai speaks to media about business relief programs in Whitehorse on April 1, 2020. The Yukon government announced Feb.25 that it will extend business support programs until September. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Government extends business relief programs to September, launches new loan

“It really gives folks some help with supporting their business with cash flow.”

Whitehorse City Hall. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
A look at decisions made by Whitehorse City Council this week

Bylaw amendment Whitehorse city council is moving closer with changes to a… Continue reading

Susie Rogan is a veteran musher with 14 years of racing experience and Yukon Journey organizer. (Yukon Journey Facebook)
Yukon Journey mushers begin 255-mile race

Eleven mushers are participating in the race from Pelly Crossing to Whitehorse

Legislative assembly on the last day of the fall sitting in Whitehorse on Nov. 22, 2018. As the legislature prepares to return on March 4, the three parties are continuing to finalize candidates in the territory’s 19 ridings. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Nine new candidates confirmed in Yukon ridings

It has been a busy two weeks as the parties try to firm up candidates

David Malcolm, 40, has been charged with assaulting and attempting to disarm a police officer after an incident in Whitehorse on Feb. 18. (Phil McLachlan/Capital News)
Man resists arrest, assaults officer

A Whitehorse man has been charged with assaulting and attempting to disarm… Continue reading

Yukon Energy in Whitehorse on Aug. 4, 2020. A site on Robert Service Way near the Alaska Highway has been selected as the future home of Yukon Energy’s energy storage project. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Site selected for Yukon Energy battery project

Planned to be in service by the end of 2022

Most Read