- Health care access during COVID-19
- Assessment, testing and treatment
- Mental health support
- Communicating with your community
- CMOH health orders and recommendations
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Government of Yukon activated the Health Emergency Operations Centre (HEOC) under the Yukon Government Pandemic Coordination Plan.
Through the Health Emergency Operations Centre (HEOC), the Department of Health and Social Services, with the expert advice of the Chief Medical Officer of Health, is responsible for coordinating and leading the government’s health response to the pandemic. This involves:
- providing information to the public;
- providing care and treatment advice to health care providers; and
- the coordination and management of health resources.
What HEOC does
The HEOC coordinates and communicates with Yukon's Emergency Coordination Centre, as well as the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC). The HEOC strives to deliver a unified and coordinated Yukon-wide response to the pandemic by working with the broader emergency management structures, as well as with:
- Yukon First Nations governments;
- government agencies; and
- the private sector.
HEOC strategic objectives
- Limit person-to-person transmission
- Identify, isolate and care for patients early
- Coordinate response and preparedness
- Communicate critical risk and event information
- Organize the planning, response, and recovery activities for the health response to the pandemic based on the recommendations of Yukon's Chief Medical Officer of Health.
- Manage health specific media and public information issues in coordination with the Department of Health and Social Services.
- Coordinate the work of the Emergency Support Services team and the operations of the Respiratory Assessment Centre and self-isolation facilities.
- Work with other health agencies, including Yukon Hospital Corporation, on the acquisition and deployment of health resources, such as personal protective equipment (PPE).
- Monitor and actively manage event situational awareness, timely reporting, and documentation.
- Develop and execute communications strategies and tactics to target specific audiences (for example, youth and young adults), and events or time periods of high risk or high public awareness.
Health care access during COVID-19
The role of the community health centre
The health centre staff continue to serve the health needs of the community. They're working to ensure that the health centre remains a safe place for people to come and seek care.
Measures to help reduce the risk of transmission of COVID-19 in the health centre include:
- signage asking people with symptoms of cough, fever or shortness of breath to stop and phone ahead to the health centre so that arrangements can be made to provide them with hand sanitizer and a mask prior to entering the facility;
- greeters stationed at the doors who will screen people for symptoms of COVID-19 and ensure that any symptomatic people are given hand sanitizer and a mask; and
- booked appointments are spaced out for non-urgent medical needs in order to avoid crowding in waiting areas and to allow people space to physically distance themselves.
Accessing regular health care services
It's important that Yukoners continue to access health care services during the COVID-19 pandemic.
To see a health care provider about any health-related issue, phone the local health care centre to set up an appointment. A web, phone or in-person appointment will be set up based on the need or type of care required.
Services available at health centres and hospitals during the pandemic:
- Lab work and x-rays are available in rural communities by appointment
- Non-urgent bloodwork, lab tests, x-rays and other imaging services, physiotherapy and occupational therapy services are suspended at Yukon hospitals in Whitehorse, Dawson City and Watson Lake.
Read the latest information about the Yukon Hospital Corporation’s response to COVID-19.
Health care centre contacts
Assessment, testing and treatment
If you have symptoms you should self-isolate and assess your symptoms by 1 of the following means:
- phone 811;
- use the online self assessment tool;
- phone your local health care centre or doctor’s office.
After the assessment
If you're symptomatic – you have symptoms – and you need testing, phone your local health centre to ask for an appointment. Same-day appointments are available and will be prioritized.
Why phone ahead of arriving at your health centre?
A phone call to the health centre in advance of your arrival is important. This way staff can take the appropriate measures to avoid possible transmission of the virus at the health centre to:
- other patients; and
Where else can you get tested
In addition to the community health centre, testing for COVID-19 can be done at:
- the Whitehorse Respiratory Assessment Clinic;
- Yukon Communicable Disease Control (YCDC); or
- at a Yukon hospital emergency room.
For the latest information about the criteria for COVID-19 testing, visit the self-assessment tool or phone 811.
Testing process at health centres
- You'll be met at the door and asked to wash your hands with hand sanitizer and we'll give you a mask.
- A nurse will take you to a designated room for assessment and testing. The test is simple and relatively painless and involves inserting a swab into the back of your nose where the virus can live.
- Once the swab is complete, and if you're well enough to go home, the nurse will provide you with information about self-isolating. You must remain in self-isolation until you hear from the health centre or Yukon Communicable Disease Control (YCDC).
- The nurse will also assess your situation for any possible barriers that may impact your ability to self-isolate. If barriers are identified, the nurse will work with you and/or your family to connect you with the appropriate supports and ensure that you're able to appropriately self-isolate. Anybody who needs assistance in securing suitable accommodations for self-isolation can email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 867-332-4587.
- The swab will be sent away for processing and will be transported out of the community as a priority. Results are typically received within 3 to 4 days depending on the date and time of collection.
- If the test result comes back as negative, you should continue to self-isolate based on the guidance of YCDC or the nurse in the community.
If the test result for COVID-19 is positive
- If you test test positive for COVID-19, Yukon Communicable Disease Control (YCDC) is notified by the lab performing the test.
- A nurse, from the health centre or YCDC will contact you to advise you of the result. The nurse will:
- start the process of contact tracing; and
- assess your medical needs to determine whether your care can be managed at home, or if you'll need access to a higher level of care.
If you can self isolate at home, the nurse will provide daily monitoring by phone for all COVID-19. They'll:
- assess your symptoms;
- ensure that you're appropriately self-isolating; and
- provide further care as needed.
If it's determined that your medical needs cannot be managed at home, or by the community health centre, arrangements will be made to safely transport you to Whitehorse. A nurse will assess the best way to transport you (for example, Emergency Medical Services or a private vehicle).
Contact tracing is a confidential public health process that helps find people who spent the most time with the person who has COVID-19. This is done quickly so that people can be isolated and reduce the spread of illness to other members of the community. This process will determine if there's anyone else who:
- was exposed to the person who has COVID-19; and
- needs to be notified of a possible exposure to COVID-19.
If there are people who've been in contact with the COVID-19 positive person, the nurse will
- give them information and instructions on self-isolating and monitoring for symptoms;
- contact them at regular intervals to make sure they're well and following self-isolation; and
- provide direction regarding the need for testing.
Privacy and non-disclosure of names or rural community cases
To protect a person's privacy and to comply with Yukon's Health Information Privacy and Management Act (HIPMA), the name of the person and the community will remain confidential. Individual cases that are contained do not increase the risk to the public, so there is no public health need to disclose the name of the community or the person.
The Chief Medical Officer of Health may decide there's a need for broader communication about a possible exposure to COVID-19 if a symptomatic person:
- was working or attending an event or location; and
- there was a possibility of passing the virus to others
In these situations, information will be shared through:
- press briefings;
- public exposure notices on the Yukon.ca website; and
- direct communication with community officials as needed.
There are procedures and protocols in place to ensure that the appropriate authorities in each community are made aware of a positive case.
All people must self-isolate :
- when they have symptoms of COVID-19; or
- if it's possible that they have been exposed to the virus (for example, following travel).
Self-isolation can take place in all communities
People who are returning from travel outside of the territory and arrive in Whitehorse are allowed to travel to their home community to safely self-isolate. Avoiding contact with other people helps prevent the spread of disease to others.
People must self-isolate at home when it's possible and safe to do so. They should remain at their place of residence:
- for 14 days; or
- until they're advised by their health care provider that they are no longer at risk of spreading the virus to others.
People must self-isolate if they:
- are returning from travel outside of Yukon;
- have symptoms and are waiting to be tested, or have been tested and are awaiting results;
- have been in direct contact with someone who has COVID-19 and have been advised to self-isolate by YCDC or the health center nurse; or
- have COVID-19.
During the COVID-19 response the Emergency Support Services (ESS) team can provide support to people in self-isolation. They can also arrange transportation for someone to get to a self-isolation facility and link them to supports for mental wellness and substance use care.
This service is available in all Yukon communities by phone 24 hours a day and 7 days a week.
If you need help to safely self-isolate
Emergency Support Services are available to help you if you are not sure if you:
- are able to self-isolate at home; or
- need help to do it safely.
Self-isolating in Whitehorse rather than the community
If you cannot safely self-isolate at home or in the community, then the Emergency Support Services team will help. They can arrange for transportation to Whitehorse where arrangements can be made for you to stay at the self-isolation facility.
Self-isolation facilities in the communities
Self-isolation facilities have been identified in the majority of Yukon rural communities. To access community based self-isolation facilities and other supports, contact Emergency Support Services.
If you're in self-isolation
There'll be daily monitoring check-ins to assess the physical and mental health of everyone in self-isolation. If you develop symptoms or if symptoms worsen, then a nurse will follow up. For you're self-isolating at home or in a community self-isolation facility there'll be a daily phone call from the Health Emergency Operations Centre. If you're staying at the self-isolation facility in Whitehorse, there'll be daily check-ins using a self-management form.
While in self-isolation you must:
- not leave home unless it’s to seek medical care;
- arrange to have groceries, medication and supplies dropped off at the door;
- stay in a separate room and use a separate bathroom, if possible, if there are others living in the home;
- practise physical distancing and keep at least 2 metres (6 feet) from any other person;
- avoid contact with people who have chronic conditions, compromised immune systems and older adults;
- keep interactions brief and wear a medical mask if available, or if not available, a non-medical mask or facial covering (for example, homemade cloth mask, dust mask, or bandana) if interaction with another individual is unavoidable or necessary;
- keep hands clean by washing regularly with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, and avoid touching their face.
- avoid contaminating common items and surfaces by disinfecting at least once daily (find out how to clean and disinfect your workplace or home);
- continue to self monitor for symptoms and immediately contact the community heath centre if symptoms get worse; and
- get some rest, eat a balanced diet and stay in touch by phone, email and through social media.
Mental health support
The COVID-19 pandemic is new and unexpected. This situation can be unsettling and can cause a sense of loss of control. It's normal for people to feel sad, stressed, confused, anxious, scared or worried in a crisis. You should take care of your mental and physical well-being and ask for help if you feel overwhelmed.
Mental health and substance use supports are available, if required, for people who are isolating in the communities and in Whitehorse. Daily monitoring of people in self-isolation will also include a check in on their mental wellness.
Services include phone support, psychiatric support, detox and medication administration.
Rapid access counselling services
Daily slots are available for 1-to-1 support. Phone to schedule a phone appointment. You do not need a previous connection with Mental Wellness and Substance Use Services.
Carmacks, Pelly Crossing, Ross River and Faro
Dawson City, Mayo, and Old Crow
Haines Junction, Destruction Bay, Burwash Landing and Beaver Creek
Phone toll free: 1-866-456-3838
Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA)
CMHA Yukon Division counselling staff are providing telephone or video sessions. Drop-in counselling has been extended from 1 day a week to 5 days a week. Appointments are available by phone within 48 hours of phoning to book the appointment.
Communicating with your community
The Government of Yukon also gives media briefings to provide more information about COVID-19 initiatives and updates. These are also streamed on Facebook and picked up by Yukon media outlets.
The Yukon government is sharing information with all Yukoners in various ways.
The Chief Medical Officer of Health (CMOH) provides briefings on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays (schedule is subject to change). These briefings include the latest test result numbers and address the evolving pandemic situation and Yukon’s response. These updates are streamed on Facebook and tend to be picked up by media outlets such as CBC, CKRW and CHON FM.
Information bulletins and news releases
All CMOH media briefings are accompanied by an information bulletin. COVID-19 related updates regarding enforcement of orders, economic supports and other Yukon government initiatives in response to the pandemic are accompanied by a news release.
Community phone calls
The Health Emergency Operations Centre (HEOC) participates in regular community phone calls organized by Community Services and the Emergency Coordination Centre. They share information with community leaders and discuss issues and concerns for each community.
Advertising is placed on CBC, CHON-FM and CKRW to share public health messages and promote other Yukon government initiatives in response to COVID-19.
We produce posters, digital signage, community newsletters and mail outs.
Checklist for community communications and information sharing
- Identify a community lead for information gathering and sharing.
- Establish a process for regular information sharing with community leaders.
- Implement and maintain a process to keep all municipal residents and/or First Nation citizens informed. For example:
- create or utilize a community newsletter (mail drop or email);
- identify locations for posters and signage; and
- create an email list for regular updates.
- Participate in regular community phone calls with the Yukon government community advisors, the Emergency Coordination Centre and the Health Emergency Operations Centre.
- Ensure that community leaders and other key people are on the email list to receive the daily situation reports from the Emergency Coordination Centre.
- Monitor Yukon.ca/COVID-19 for the latest information, including news releases, on the Yukon government’s response to the pandemic.
CMOH health orders and recommendations
The Chief Medical Officer of Health, the Government of Yukon’s Emergency Measures Organization and the Minister of Community Services realize that these are extraordinary measures that may cause hardship for people, families, communities and businesses.
By carefully following the legal orders and the directions of the CMOH, Yukoners can each take responsibility and help to control of the spread of COVID-19 in Yukon.
General questions and support
Phone toll free: 1-877-374-0425
For questions about Yukon border control and enforcement, or reporting a possible infraction of the Civil Emergency Measures Act.
For questions about relief for businesses.
Phone toll free in Yukon: 1-800-661-0408 extension 3803
For questions related to mining operations.
For questions about school plans, phone or email your school.
Yukon Housing Corporation
For questions about social housing.
Phone toll free: 1-800-661-0408 extension 5759
Yukon Hospital Corporation
For COVID-19 questions specifically related to Yukon Hospitals.
This line is not for medical advice or emergencies.
If you need medical advice or have a health concern
If it's an emergency
In person: Visit your nearest emergency department.
Community health care centres
Contact your local health care centre.