Common questions: COVID-19 in the Yukon

Find answers in the themes below to commonly asked questions about COVID-19 in  the Yukon. Find the latest information about COVID-19 in the Yukon.

Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses. Some cause illness in people and others cause illness in animals.

Human coronaviruses are common and are typically associated with mild illnesses similar to the common cold. Rarely, animal coronaviruses can infect people. More rarely, these can then spread from person to person through close contact. Find more information about animal-to-human transmission.

COVID-19 is a new disease that had not been previously identified in humans. The World Health Organization declared the COVID-19 pandemic. The “19” in the name of the virus indicates the year the virus appeared.

Spread of COVID-19 between animals and people

A small number of dogs and cats in several countries have tested positive for COVID-19 or antibodies to the virus. In addition, the virus has been detected in tigers and lions in zoo collections, as well as in farmed mink in Europe. Some positive animals have had symptoms of respiratory disease, but typically these are mild and not fatal. All cases are presumed to be due to exposure to infected people (for example, transmission from infected people to animals).

COVID-19 (SARS-CoV-2) is in the family of viruses that caused the SARS outbreak in 2003. Research on COVID-19 has examined animals known to have cell receptors that allow infection by SARS viruses including cats, ferrets and pigs. Cats, hamsters and ferrets can be infected, develop illness and can pass the virus to other animals of the same species through direct contact. Dogs are apparently less susceptible, and pigs, ducks and geese have not been positive.

There’s no evidence that animals play a significant role in spread of COVID-19. People with COVID-19 should exercise precautions to avoid spreading the virus to pets, especially cats, hamsters and ferrets. Testing animals in Canada is not recommended at this time, but may be performed in exceptional situations. Veterinarians must consult with the Chief Veterinary Officer for guidance on animal testing.

You have COVID-19: contact with animals

It’s plausible that the virus could survive on the hair of animals as it can on other surfaces. It’s recommended that if you’ve been diagnosed with COVID-19 and you have a pet or other animal:

  • avoid close contact with them (for example, do not let them lick you, sit in your lap or sleep on your bed);
  • practise good cough etiquette; cover your mouth or nose with a tissue  or cough or sneeze into your upper arm or elbow (avoid sneezing or coughing on your animals);
  • have someone else care for your animals;
  • if someone else cannot care for your animals, always wash your hands before and after touching or feeding them; and
  • limit your animal’s contact with other people and animals.​

Livestock and COVID-19

If you own livestock owners practice normal biosecurity measures. This includes limiting visitors or workers who may have travelled to, or been in contact with, someone from a COVID-19 affected area. For more information about on-farm disease prevention, producers are encouraged to consult:

  • the National Biosecurity Standards and Biosecurity Principles, and
  • the National Farm-Level Biosecurity Planning Guide.

Food and COVID-19

There is currently no evidence to suggest that food is a likely source or route of transmission of the virus. This includes meat from livestock or Yukon wildlife. Keep yourself and your family safe when handing any food:

  • follow food safety practices.
  • avoid contamination of uncooked foods.
  • avoid consuming raw or undercooked animal products.

Bringing animals to Canada from another country

The Public Health Agency of Canada recommends that you limit or postpone the importation of animals from affected areas. This includes importers, rescue organizations, and adoptive families. If you import animals from an affected area:

  • they should be closely monitored for signs of illness; and
  • you should contact a veterinarian if they become sick; phone ahead to ensure your veterinarian is aware of the circumstances.

All animals entering Canada must meet import requirements set out by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA). There are currently no specific requirements in place in Canada restricting the import of animals related to the COVID-19 outbreak.

Veterinary clinics

Veterinary clinics in Yukon are currently open but are taking measures that allow for social distancing. These include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • reducing hours;
  • limiting the number of clients in the clinic at any given time; and
  • postponing non-emergency appointments.

Phone your veterinary clinic to find out more.

More information on animals and COVID-19

What is a cluster?

A COVID-19 cluster means there’s a group of people who’ve tested positive for COVID-19. Each person in this group (or cluster) can link their disease exposure to someone else in this cluster. We can link this group's illness to a period of time and a place. A cluster does not need be a specific number of cases.

You should get tested if you have any of the following symptoms:

  • fever
  • chills;
  • cough;
  • shortness of breath;
  • runny nose;
  • sore throat;
  • headache;
  • loss of sense of taste or smell;
  • headache;
  • fatigue;
  • loss of appetite;
  • nausea and vomiting;
  • diarrhea; and
  • muscle aches.

Use the online COVID-19 self-assessment tool if you think you may have COVID-19.

Find out how to self-isolate.

Getting tested for COVID-19

Find out about how and where to get tested for COVID-19.

Test results

You’ll receive your test results within 2 to 5 days of being tested. You can check your test results online

Assessing yourself for COVID-19

If you think you may have COVID-19, use the online self-assessment tool.

Find all information about vaccination and vaccines, such as:

  • getting vaccinated;
  • proof of vaccination; and 
  • where you have to show proof of vaccination.

What health centres are doing to protect the community

All community health centres are open. To visit your health centre:

  • follow the instructions posted outside or on the front door of your community health centre; and
  • whenever possible, phone ahead to book an appointment. 

You'll be asked COVID-19-related screening questions about your symptoms and recent travel by a greeter or administrative assistant when you:

  • arrive at the health centre; or
  • phone the centre.

If you have any symptoms, you’ll be asked to wash your hands and put on a mask.
You’ll be asked to wait in a specific area at the health centre or, if the centre is busy, you may be asked to wait in your vehicle until a nurse is available.

Visiting someone in the hospital, or going to an appointment

Get up-to-date information about hospital restrictions.

Contact your community health centre or hospital

Find the contact information of all Yukon community health centres and hospitals.

COVID-19 is a type of coronavirus. Coronaviruses are most commonly spread from someone who’s infected through:

  • respiratory droplets generated when you cough or sneeze;
  • close, prolonged personal contact, such as touching or shaking hands; or
  • touching something with the virus on it, then touching your mouth, nose or eyes before washing your hands.

What is community spread?

Community spread is when we cannot trace how someone became infected. For example, a person does not have a history of travel or a connection to someone who is infected with COVID-19. Sometimes we talk about community transmission. This means the same as community spread.

How long does the virus last on surfaces?

We do not know for certain how long COVID-19 virus survives on surfaces. Early information suggests that the COVID-19 virus may last on surfaces for a few hours or several days depending on different conditions.

To protect yourself, use good hygiene measures and regularly clean and disinfect surfaces.

Food and COVID-19

There’s currently no evidence to suggest that food is a likely source or route of transmission of the virus. This includes meat from livestock or Yukon wildlife.

Keep yourself and your family safe when handing any food:

  • follow food safety practices;
  • cook food to safe temperatures;
  • avoid contamination of uncooked foods; and
  • avoid consuming raw or undercooked animal products.

Find mental health and wellness support during COVID-19.

Do not hesitate to make use of these services – this is a stressful time and talking to someone about it can help.

There's an increased risk for more severe outcomes in people:

  • who are unvaccinated;
  • 65 years or older;
  • who have compromised immune systems; or
  • who have underlying medical conditions.

Get posters and materials to increase awareness and prevent the spread of COVID-19. 

COVID-19 vaccine

Find out about getting vaccinated for COVID-19.

How to prevent the spread of COVID-19

Follow the 6 steps plus 1 to staying safe.

Also:

  • avoid close contact with people who are sick;
  • clean and disinfect objects and surfaces that are touched often;
  • cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze, then throw the tissue immediately into the trash; and
  • cover your mouth and nose with your inner elbow when you cough or sneeze.

How to reduce the risk of potential complications from COVID-19

Stay as healthy as possible now. For example, stop smoking or vaping and get the seasonal flu shot. You should also manage chronic illnesses such as diabetes with help from your doctor.

Remember you phone your doctor for your regular health needs or to discuss new concerns. Doctors offices and community health centre are open. 

Using bleach or alcohol as cleaners

Get information on cleaning and disinfecting your home or workplace.

Using a humidifier

The benefits of a humidifier may depend on your existing health condition. Ask your health care professional for advice.

On March 18, 2020, the Yukon's Chief Medical Officer of Health declared a public health emergency. This declaration enables the Chief Medical Officer of Health to:

  • respond more quickly to the rapidly changing situation; and
  • ensure the health and safety of Yukoners.

The public health emergency will be in effect until further notice.

What is the risk for infants?

Recent evidence suggests the risk to infants is low – very few children under 5 show serious illness from COVID-19, though they are not immune.

What are the risks for pregnant women?

We do not currently know if pregnant women have a greater chance of getting sick from COVID-19 than the general public nor whether they're more likely to have serious illness as a result.

Pregnant women experience changes in their bodies that may increase their risk of some infections. With viruses from the same family as COVID-19, and other viral respiratory infections, such as influenza, women have had a higher risk of developing severe illness. It is always important for pregnant women to protect themselves from illnesses.

What are the risks for people who use drugs or alcohol?

See the BC Centre for Centre for Disease Control’s website for more information about people who use drugs or alcohol and COVID-19.

Safe spacing 

When someone coughs or sneezes they spray small liquid droplets from their nose or mouth. These droplets may contain the virus. If you’re too close and the person has the COVID-19 virus, you may contract it.

Safe spacing means making changes in your everyday routines to minimize close contact with others.

  • avoid common greetings, such as handshakes and hugs;
  • limit contact with people at higher risk such as older adults and people in poor health; and
  • keep a distance of at least 2 metres (6 feet) from anyone who is not in your household or your combined household.

Self-isolation

You must self-isolate if:

  • you’re a contact of someone diagnosed with COVID-19 and have been advised to self-isolate by Yukon Communicable Disease Control;
  • you’re waiting for results of a COVID-19 test; or
  • you have COVID-19.

Schools planned their operations based on initial health and safety guidance and detailed health and safety guidelines set by the Chief Medical Officer of Health.  

Find all information about schools during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Travelling to the Yukon

Find all information about travelling to the Yukon.

Travel within Yukon

The Chief Medical Officer of Health advises you be respectful of community members’ requests when entering a community or a business.

Find out more about travelling to communities.

Travelling from abroad

You have to follow federal COVID-19 travel restriction measures

Residents leaving Yukon

If you have plans to travel follow the health guidance and regulations of the place you're visiting. It's always a good idea to practise the Safe 6 plus wear a mask.

Yukoners abroad

Although it’s not advised, if you’re still considering travel outside of Canada, you should do the following:

  • check travel advisories before travelling;
  • know the health risks for your destination;
  • understand the risks to your safety and security abroad;
  • ensure you have sufficient finances and necessities, including medication, in case your travels are disrupted; and
  • be prepared if airlines revise scheduled flights to and from your destination.

If you travel abroad:

  • you’ll be subject to the measures of other countries;
  • your scheduled trip may become much longer;
  • you may have reduced access to quality health care; and
  • your travel health insurance will likely not provide coverage in a pandemic.

Find out about financial assistance for Yukoners abroad.

In May 2020, we invited the public to send in questions about the COVID-19 pandemic for Premier Sandy Silver and Yukon Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Brendan Hanley to answer at a Virtual Town Hall on May 29, 2020. There was not time for them to answer all the questions during the event so we published the remaining questions and answers for you to read.  

Find the latest information about wearing a mask in public indoor places in the Yukon.

Medical masks

Supplies of medical masks must continue to be given to health care workers so they can wear them:

  • during medical procedures; and
  • when they care for people who are infected.