Photo by Whitehorse Star
Dr. Catherine Elliott
Photo by Whitehorse Star
Dr. Catherine Elliott
Amid what’s looking more and more like another COVID-19 outbreak, Dr. Catherine Elliott, the acting chief medical officer of health, is strongly recommending that Yukoners return to wearing masks.
“I am concerned with the increasing number of cases we are seeing daily,” Elliott said in a statement released late Tuesday afternoon.
“We started at two cases a day, then four, and now we are seeing 11 and 12. After the Gamma wave in June, we hit a low point in August, seeing two cases a day for a couple of weeks, then four a day and now 11 to 12 new cases a day.
“Wearing a mask in places where you don’t know everyone or their vaccine status is a small sacrifice to avoid getting sick,” Elliott added.
“If a business or a facility asks you to wear a mask because that is their policy, please respect that. If people choose to wear a mask, even where it isn’t required, respect their intentions to keep themselves and others safe from the spread of COVID-19.”
She added she “strongly recommended the consistent use of masks in all indoor public spaces.”
Her urging comes with the announcement of 36 new cases over the past 96 hours, from noon last Friday through noon Tuesday.
The current active case count is 58. This number includes 28 Yukon residents and eight out-of-territory residents diagnosed in the Yukon.
“The Delta variant is circulating in southern jurisdictions and spreading in the Yukon with more Yukoners travelling more frequently now than they were last year,” Elliott said.
“All of this, combined with the approach of flu season, means we must take steps to protect ourselves, our families and our community from the spread of COVID-19.”
Troublingly, Elliott said, “The Delta variant is infecting those who are vaccinated along with those who are not, or who are partially vaccinated. Those who are fully vaccinated, however, are not getting as ill.”
The release added Elliott is “also concerned that we are seeing rapid and widespread transmission among groups and social networks with very low vaccination rates and individuals.
“Unvaccinated individuals are highly integrated into the Yukon and therefore sharing disease throughout vaccinated networks.
“While this is a strong health recommendation and not an order, businesses and facilities still have the right to ask you to wear a mask.”
More exposure notices were also issued by Elliott, including one for École Whitehorse Elementary School. The Star has obtained an email from government officials to parents at the school.
“This is an urgent notice from the Department of Education for Whitehorse Elementary School to let you know that Yukon Communicable Disease Control (YCDC) has confirmed a case of COVID-19 that will impact the Grade 5B class,” the email says.
“A letter from YCDC is attached to this email, which provides specific clinical direction for students and staff regarding who needs to self-isolate, who needs to be tested for COVID-19, and who needs to self-monitor for symptoms.
“Whitehorse Elementary School remains open and is following their Operational Plan for Communicable Disease. We continue to work closely with YCDC and Yukon’s acting Chief Medical Officer of Health to ensure necessary measures are in place to protect all students and staff. Please read the attached letter for the complete clinical direction from YCDC,” the email adds.
“The Department of Education will continue to work with your school administration to keep parents, guardians and staff informed,” Marilyn Marquis-Forster, A/ADM, of the Department of Education, states in the email.
The Star has received some inquiries as to whether Elijah Smith Elementary School has been closed due to COVID-19 problems.
“Elijah Smith Elementary School was open on Thursday, Oct. 7, 2021,” said Krisandra Reid, a communications analyst with the Department of Education.
“On Oct. 5 and 10, staff and parents of students received notification emails from the Department of Education regarding urgent letters from Yukon Communicable Disease Control (YCDC). The school remained open on these dates as well.
“The YCDC letters (details available on the COVID-19 Exposure Notices webpage) provided information to families about specific classes impacted by confirmed positive cases of COVID-19, as well as directions for those impacted regarding self-isolation, self-monitoring for symptoms and testing,” Reid wrote.
“Students who stay home from school because they are sick or are asked to self-isolate are supported with continued learning at home.”
Other public exposure notices issued late Tuesday afternoon are for:
• Sanchez Cantina, 211 Hanson St., between 4:30 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. Oct. 7, and between 4:30 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. Oct. 8; and
• Duffy’s Pets and Tanzilla Harness Supply, 407 Alexander St., between noon and 6 p.m. Oct. 7 and Oct. 8.
If you were at these locations on either of these dates, self-monitor for symptoms for 14 days through Oct. 21 or 22 inclusive.
An exposure alert was also issued for Air North flight 4N510 for Oct. 6, Vancouver to Whitehorse, with a scheduled departure at 9:25 a.m. and arrival at 11:55 a.m.
If you were on this flight, self-monitor for symptoms for 14 days through Oct. 20 inclusive.
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