Canada’s Yukon territory reports 44 new COVID-19 cases over the weekend

A file photo of Dr. Brendan Hanley, Yukon’s chief medical officer of health. Hanley announced 44 new cases of COVID-19 Sunday evening, and said Yukon is now experiencing its ‘first true wave’ of the pandemic.(Philippe Morin/CBC)

Dr. Brendan Hanley recommends parents keep children home from daycare for next two weeks

Parents are being told to keep children home from daycare for two weeks, and an outbreak has been declared at the Whitehorse Emergency Shelter as Yukon continues to experience its “first true wave” of COVID-19.

Dr. Brendan Hanley, Yukon’s chief medical officer of health, reported 44 new cases — the majority in Whitehorse — over the weekend, in a press release Sunday evening,

“COVID-19 is being widely transmitted throughout Yukon, primarily affecting unvaccinated people and is now present in most Yukon communities,” Hanley said in the press release.

He characterized the situation as Yukon’s “first true wave” of COVID-19.

As of Sunday evening, there were 124 active cases of COVID-19 in the territory, with 44 of them reported since Friday afternoon.

Yukon has had a total of 308 cases since the start of the pandemic. Nearly two-thirds of those cases have been reported in the past month, with a Whitehorse-based outbreak associated with high school graduation events and parties the main source of infections.

Hanley’s recommendation for parents to keep children home from child care programs — not including day camps — comes after several day cares have become COVID-19 exposure locations. One Whitehorse daycare has had at least four children test positive for COVID-19 so far, with some parents concerned about the fact that it took days between the news spreading by word-of-mouth and a formal notice and recommendations coming from health officials.

15 cases at shelter; hospitals for urgent care only

Meanwhile, approximately 15 cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed among Whitehorse Emergency Shelter staff and guests, according to Sunday’s press release. The shelter has a COVID-19 operational plan in place, is working with health officials to “ensure practices align with the evolving COVID-19 situation,” and is offering COVID-19 testing to staff and guests on an ongoing basis.

Yukon hospitals will also be tightening measures for at least two weeks in the wake of the first wave. Yukoners are asked to only go to hospital emergency departments if they need urgent care and, beginning June 28, no visitors or support people will be allowed in with limited exceptions. As well, some non-urgent services, including surgeries or appointments for lab tests, may be postponed, and anyone entering a hospital will be subject to COVID-19 screen questions and will also have to wear a hospital-provided mask.

Hanley urged Yukoners to “pull together” by “staying calm, and staying kind,” keeping any informal gatherings to no more than six people, keeping contacts small and consistent and following public health measures including keeping good hand hygiene and physical distancing.

Anyone with COVID-19 symptoms, which include fever, chills, cough, difficulty breathing, shortness of breath, a loss of sense of taste or smell, fatigue, nausea and vomiting and muscle aches is urged to self-isolate and arranged to be tested immediately.

Related stories from around the North: 

Canada: Tourism OK’d in Nunavik, Quebec as of June 21, Eye on the Arctic

CBC News

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