May 1, 2020: Yukon’s Chief Medical Officer of Health provides update on COVID-19

Yukon’s Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Brendan Hanley has the following updates for the Yukon public on measures being taken in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

COVID-19 cases and recoveries

As of today, May 1, at 2 p.m. the case count remains at 11 cases of COVID-19 in the territory.

All of the 11 people who have contracted COVID-19 in Yukon have recovered. There are no active cases in the territory.

We have traced each case in Yukon so far to its origin which means there continues to be no known community spread in the territory. We assume community spread has occurred when we can no longer trace how somebody became infected.

The Government of Yukon publishes information about COVID-19 tests daily on Yukon.ca. This includes how many confirmed cases there are in Yukon, how many tests have been negative, how many results are pending, the total number of tests and how many people have recovered.

A personal message for Yukoners from the Chief Medical Officer of Health

I recognize that people are getting tired of the restrictions that have been put in place. They see Yukon’s low number of cases of infection and wonder why we are keeping things locked down so tightly. They look to our neighbours to the south and the east and see that other parts of Canada are beginning to open up.

Here in Yukon, while people feel we have taken drastic measures, we haven’t had to go as far as many of the provinces had to. When our neighbours to the south and east open up, their first phases will be catching up to where we are now in terms of restrictions.

We want to take a calm and measured approach to reopening the territory. More details will be coming week by week. We want to take incremental steps and, if it’s fine and we don’t see more disease, then walk in a little deeper.

The worst thing would be that if we open up, see a resurgence of the disease within the territory and have to shut down again, just after folks have tasted a little bit of freedom.

Increasing non-urgent hospital services

Yukon’s hospitals will on a limited basis increase some elective and non-urgent services that were temporarily suspended over the last month to help limit the spread of COVID-19. The services include elective surgeries and non-urgent bloodwork, x-rays, imaging tests, physiotherapy, occupational therapy and appointments with visiting specialists.

Hospitals will provide all of these resumed services by appointment only so they can maintain physical distancing and ensure the safety of vulnerable populations and health care workers. The hospitals will contact people to let them know when their appointment is. They will continue screening all patients and visitors for risk of infection at all hospital entrances.

Accessing mental health services

Looking after our mental health is part of how we should respond to the pandemic whatever our situation or role, including people who have never accessed mental health services before. Feeling afraid, worried or stressed are normal in a crisis and with all the change that COVID-19 has brought to our lives, so is feeling we’re no longer in control and grieving for what we have lost.

Reaching out for extra mental health support is a sign of strength. There are plenty of mental health professionals available to help and Yukoners are reminded they can call Mental Wellness and Substance Use Services at 867-456-3838 or toll free at 1-866-456-3838. People can also call the Canadian Mental Health Association for phone counselling appointments at 867-668-6429.

The Child Development Centre at 867-456-8182 provides services for families with children under school age. Families with children or adults with disabilities can call Disability Services at 867-393-7464.

We provide anyone coming into the territory with a list of resources and tools for self-care and mental wellness while they self-isolate.

People can find free resources for supporting mental health at the Wellness Together Canada at ca.portal.gs.

Six steps to staying safe

The six steps to staying safe and stopping the spread of COVID-19 are: physical distancing; regular hand washing; staying home when sick; not gathering in groups of more than 10; avoiding travel to communities and self-isolating when required.

Latest information

To keep up to date with the latest information, Yukoners should visit Yukon.ca/COVID-19.

Contact 

Pat Living
Communications, Health and Social Services
867-335-1531
patricia.living@gov.yk.ca

News release #: 
20-120