Whitehorse Daily Star

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Dr. Brendan Hanley

Active cases at 124; hospital rules tighten

Dr. Brendan Hanley, the Yukon’s chief medical officer of health, is reporting 66 new cases of COVID-19 since Friday afternoon as the outbreak worsens.

By Tim Giilck on June 28, 2021

Dr. Brendan Hanley, the Yukon’s chief medical officer of health, is reporting 66 new cases of COVID-19 since Friday afternoon as the outbreak worsens.

Twenty-two new cases were announced late Friday afternoon , with another 44 counted by Sunday afternoon.

There are now 124 active cases in the territory. Hanley now states this is the first true “wave” of COVID-19 in the Yukon.

The territory’s total case count is now 308. According to a news release, most are in Whitehorse.

One hundred and two individuals have recovered since June 1.

“COVID-19 is being widely transmitted throughout Yukon, primarily affecting unvaccinated people, and is now present in most Yukon communities. Eleven of 14 communities are home to COVID-19 positive people,” the statement said.

One of the major changes over the weekend involves child care facilities.

“Several daycare centres are now exposure locations for COVID-19,” the release said.

“(Hanley) has issued a recommendation that, for the next two weeks, parents keep children home from child care programs if they are able to do so,” said the news release.

“This recommendation will reduce the number of children in attendance, allow for more distance between children and provide increased flexibility for staff to stay home if sick.

“This recommendation does not apply to day camps.

“Daycare operators are reaching out directly to parents of any children who were exposed to COVID-19 at a daycare centre.”

Late Friday afternoon, spokesperson Pat Living of the Department of Health and Social Serrices provided the Star with a statement on the situation at daycares.

Last week, parents and other relatives of children attending a local day care affected by COVID-19 were critical of delayed communications from the government and slow testing reports after.

“We are currently dealing with an unprecedented COVID-19 outbreak during which it is very important for people to get the information they need as soon as possible,” Living wrote.

“Yukon Communicable Disease Control (YCDC) works diligently to get the necessary information from people who test positive for COVID-19 in order to undertake thorough contact tracing.

“Ensuring comprehensive and accurate information is gathered to allow YCDC to provide appropriate recommendations to those who have tested positive, their contacts and others such as parents and caregivers, is not always a quick process.

“We are currently managing hundreds of contacts associated with the current outbreak and teams are working all hours to gather and share relevant information,” Living added.

“The staff at YCDC are dedicated professionals who care deeply about their clients. Collecting comprehensive and accurate information is part of their work and will always be a priority.

“However, recognizing that there can be an interim period where parents are waiting for information about what to do until they hear from YCDC, we will be looking at what we can do to give early notice to parents if their daycare may be affected by a COVID-19 case.”

The Whitehorse Emergency Shelter has also been hard hit by the outbreak.

“(Hanley) is declaring an outbreak at the Whitehorse Emergency Shelter,” the press release said.

“An outbreak is declared when one or more persons tests positive in a congregate living setting. Approximately 15 cases of COVID-19 have now been confirmed in shelter guests and staff.

“Testing for COVID-19 is available for staff and guests on an ongoing basis.

“ The shelter has a COVID-19 operational plan and is working with Yukon Communicable Disease Control and (Hanley) to ensure practices align with the evolving COVID-19 situation.”

Hanley has also made changes to accessing Whitehorse General Hospital.

“In response to the COVID-19 outbreak in the territory, Yukon’s hospitals are taking additional measures to keep everyone safe, protect staff and patients, and ensure hospital care is available when you need it most,” said the statement.

“Here’s what you can do to help and expect to see when you go to hospital. Only go to the hospital emergency department, if you need urgent care.

“New visitor restrictions are coming into effect starting today. No visitors or support persons will be allowed – with only a few, limited exceptions.

“Some non-urgent hospital services will be limited or postponed, so your surgery may be rescheduled for another time or your appointment for a lab test may be delayed.

“The hospitals may have to adjust or modify other less urgent services as required.

“You will be asked some additional questions by the screening team when you arrive at the hospital;please continue to be patient and kind, as they have an important role in our safety.

“You will be asked to wear a hospital-provided mask and keep it on in all areas of the hospital – even if you bring your own personal mask. This is to provide everyone the same level of protection.

“Expect these limited measures to be in place for two weeks and reassessed at that time.

“COVID-19 continues to spread widely in Yukon, mostly amongst unvaccinated adults, youth and children. We must pull together, by:

• staying calm, and staying kind;

• sticking to six – keeping any informal gatherings to no more than six people;

• keeping your contacts small and consistent;

• strictly observing all current public health measures; and

• staying away from others and arranging for testing when you have symptoms,” Hanley said.

On Friday, he also called for a “social firebreak” to help control the spread.

He wants people to restrict gathering sizes to six people to possibly break the chain of infection.

“We expect to see high daily numbers of cases for a while yet,” he said.

“This outbreak is mostly affecting unvaccinated adults, children, and youth, but even vaccinated people are at some risk.

“There is a high risk for spread of COVID-19 in any social gathering, and great care must be taken. Any organized gathering such as a wedding or funeral must adhere to current guidelines.

“Unorganized social gatherings should for now be limited to no more than six adults.

“Limiting our contacts for the next two weeks will help us take a pause and assess where we are. Our public health system is significantly challenged right now and this measure will allow us to address where we are seeing our greatest risk.

“It is time to take a pause and slow down on social gatherings. For now, I would like all Yukoners to limit informal gatherings to a small number, regardless of vaccination status.”

Comments (19)

Up 9 Down 1

Jim on Jul 4, 2021 at 7:55 am

After almost a year and a half, I think most Yukoners are ready to come out of their caves. We were told that after a 70% vaccine uptake things could start returning to normal. Well, we are well past that and now some people want new restrictions enforced. The freedom to be allowed to move around in your own country is just as important as your freedom to chose to vaccinate or not. People still catch the flu, some die, some end up in the hospital. But for the most part, with the flu shot and healthy living the majority survive. But because you want to live in fear of the vaccine or other people does not mean everyone agrees with you.

Up 20 Down 25

martin on Jun 30, 2021 at 9:47 am

If our dear Dr would had been more forthcoming and warned us by identifying the contagions, then this could have been mitigated.

Up 26 Down 8

Snowman on Jun 29, 2021 at 7:53 pm

@Max Mack

It's true that most young people are relatively immune to the serious effects upfront. When it comes to long term effects down the road however, we have no idea. Especially how it might affect the still growing bodies and brains of our youth. Early indications are that people who have had covid are at serious risk for heart and lung complications.

Also, young people occasionally get hit hard up front. Unfortunately, I know a young person with it right now....I think he is probably 20-23 years old and he was just medevaced from Whitehorse to Vancouver with tubes down his throat. So be careful what you wish for.

Up 18 Down 27

Concerned citizens on Jun 29, 2021 at 4:59 pm

Close the dam borders for 18 days geez, there’s kids and people that can’t get the vaccine and now the hospital is postponing surgery appointments. Close the dam borders and see where it goes, if not the virus will just keep being imported.

Up 18 Down 7

Shakes head, you are partly correct on Jun 29, 2021 at 4:15 pm

During the time of strongest restrictions, there was no vaccine. Now that a large number of adults, and a growing number of teens, have gotten or are getting the vaccine, I'm hoping that the minority of people still vulnerable (can't get vaccinated/won't get vaccinated) remain safe. I know I will continue to follow the guidelines - too many are still at risk. AND I want to enjoy the rest of the summer!

Up 53 Down 32

Max Mack on Jun 29, 2021 at 9:45 am

We know that high school students are the ones that are responsible for this "wave". We know that young people have robust immune systems that are practically immune to the serious effects of Covid; the statistics and research on this are abundantly clear.

Why is Hanley pushing vaccines for our young? Why are Hanley and Silver so afraid of natural immunity?
Are journalists pushing for real answers and not talking points?

Up 47 Down 16

Matthew on Jun 29, 2021 at 8:44 am

Let's try this again.. lockdowns WON'T end as Teresa Tam has claimed by the fall DELTA varient will be in full rampage, funny because she also predicted this wave too, and the one before that.. then the new waves will be Omega, Zeta, etc so we have about 22 more left in the Greek alphabet.. yay..

Up 41 Down 17

Josey Wales on Jun 29, 2021 at 8:26 am

Yeah, kinda predictable yet...still odd in volume.
Query...not assumptions just wondering in font.

Was there any festivities of pride, or cultural event on the 21st that may have contributed to such a spike?
I drove by the Center of hopelessness Monday, looked like regular party time to me? Nothing shuttered, no hazmat suits or teams, ...odd eh?

Up 37 Down 6

Vern Schlimbesser on Jun 29, 2021 at 5:54 am

It was my assumption that as the relative end of this pandemic approached by achieving 'herd immunity', and as controls were then lifted, an increase of much less serious cases could be expected.
Is this situation not the predicted and inevitable result of a successful campaign?

Up 51 Down 23

DL on Jun 28, 2021 at 10:57 pm

These ‘case’ numbers are meaningless. Hanley doesn’t even tell us the most important matter: whether these ‘cases’ are even sick at all, because they use PCR tests notorious for churning out false positives. They won’t tell us basic details of the so-called two recent ‘covid deaths’, so it's most likely because these unfortunate people were old and frail and/or died of pre-existing conditions, just like the first two ‘covid’ deaths.

This irresponsible display of ‘cases’ seems all geared up to pressure Yukoners to get the covid jab to their children, and to keep us in fear and obedient. No thanks. They’re not telling the truly relevant information because if they did we would realize they DON'T have any reasonable grounds for Emergency Measures and endless restrictions.

Up 30 Down 46

Fred on Jun 28, 2021 at 10:26 pm

This government needs to grow some and impose some real restrictions instead of just asking nicely.

Up 23 Down 24

Jon D on Jun 28, 2021 at 10:25 pm

Maybe the YG staff doing contract tracing are all enjoying their discounted great Yukon summer.. making it hard to keep up!

Up 21 Down 37

Politico on Jun 28, 2021 at 7:27 pm

What the nay sayers fail to see is the now politicians, businesses and religious orders have now started to wade into the opening arguments. If we had let Hanley handle it we would be okay but the people who want profit and and prosperity (?) don't care about the body count, only about money!

Up 27 Down 32

Joe on Jun 28, 2021 at 6:04 pm

It's pretty easy to see that all the garbage misinformation has led to “ bullet proof” vaccinated people going around ignoring all safety protocols and spreading covid. Don't get mad, take a look around and at yourself before you trash my comment.

Up 19 Down 25

DA on Jun 28, 2021 at 4:43 pm

Interesting that the government isn't cracking down on restrictions given this outbreak. I suppose it's because most people are vaccinated? Still, restrictions would help contain this outbreak whether or not the majority of the population has been vaccinated.

Up 84 Down 86

Oscar Jones on Jun 28, 2021 at 4:23 pm

Where are all these cases coming from? There were literally no cases before the vaccination came out. As well, as no one wore masks for over a half a year with no outbreaks. Now look at the numbers.
Why do people even listen to these people anymore? They are constantly moving the goal posts.

Up 72 Down 73

Juniper Jackson on Jun 28, 2021 at 4:05 pm

It doesn't matter if its 124 cases, 500 cases, 2 cases, no cases. The blah, blah, blah is the same.

Up 30 Down 38

No youth vaccines? on Jun 28, 2021 at 3:16 pm

Maybe not a good time for the government to have closed down the youth vaccination clinic...no appointments showing and no news of any to come.

Up 81 Down 24

*shakes head* on Jun 28, 2021 at 3:03 pm

You're a walking paradox man! When there was no concern, no cases, and nothing going on, we had our strongest sanctions and closed borders. Now with the most cases, we're sitting here "hoping" that people follow some arbitrary rules that aren't in legislation but simply things that "I hope this is what we do."

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