Whitehorse Daily Star

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Premier Sandy Silver

Staying home will literally save lives, premier declares

Dr. Brendan Hanley, chief medical officer, provided an update to COVID-19 measures in the territory on Friday afternoon to round off a week chock-full of announcements.

By Gabrielle Plonka on April 6, 2020

Dr. Brendan Hanley, chief medical officer, provided an update to COVID-19 measures in the territory on Friday afternoon to round off a week chock-full of announcements.

At that point, the Yukon was still at six cases, with four now recovered and all affected “doing well at home,” Hanley told a news briefing.

There have now been 753 tests conducted in the territory, with 694 negative results and 53 pending.

The Yukon continues to evade community transmission. That means cases that are not connected to a travel-related case or cannot be traced to a known cluster of outbreaks.

“That puts us in good shape for taking a breather again, this (past) weekend,” Hanley said.

Hanley clarified recommendations to those in self-isolation but hoping to take part in outdoor activities.

“You can go outside, as long as you have a safe way to get outside, so you don’t infringe on anyone else’s two-metre bubble,” Hanley said.

Snowmobile rides, or other activities that may result in machinery breakdowns necessitating help, are not recommended. Outdoor activities at the ski club are also discouraged.

“I will not be able to adjudicate every scenario, but the best question to ask is, ‘is there any risk I might not be able to comply with safe spacing?’” Hanley said.

The chief medical officer said he has heard concern about the lack of traffic at the Whitehorse General Hospital’s emergency department, and clarified that Yukoners should still visit the hospital in emergencies.

“I’ve seen descriptions of an eerie calm …. I want to reassure people who would normally visit the emergency department that these are still safe places to come.”

To protect rural communities, Hanley recommends that service providers engaging with those communities contact local governments before entering. A Yukon government team will be established to support this engagement.

“This goes a long way to alleviating people’s worry,” Premier Sandy Silver said Friday.

Hanley also reiterated that safety guidelines are now posted on yukon.ca for critical service workers returning from travel.

Both Hanley and Silver reviewed the new enforceable laws for protection against COVID-19.

Those laws include:

• mandated self-isolation after travel;

• a declaration that no COVID-19 symptoms are present while entering the territory and providing contact and destination information;

• bar closures and restaurants open for take-out only;

• dental visits limited to emergency;

• personal service businesses closed; and

• no gatherings of more than 10 people.

Special provisions on these laws are in place for critical service providers, who must instead follow the guidelines provided by the Yukon government.

Silver doubled down on the importance of following these laws.

“We must continue to take this extremely seriously; we must operate with an abundance of caution,” Silver said.

“These are not suggestions, these are the law; if you do not comply, you will be subject to fines and possible jail time.”

Silver said his government is taking a three-pronged approach to fight COVID-19: reducing the number of cases in Yukon or “flattening the curve” of new cases, taking precautions to avoid the overload of cases on the medical system and supporting the economy.

Federal supports available to Yukoners kicked in today, Silver noted.

They include applying for the Canadian Response Benefit through the Canada Revenue Agency online portal. This fund will provide applicants with $500 per week for up to 16 weeks.

A wage subsidy will also be available for Yukoners, covering up to 75 per cent of salaries for businesses that have experienced a 30 per cent decline in revenue due to COVID-19.

“Yukoners, I want to be crystal clear in saying this: stay home as much as possible,” Silver said.

“We are all realizing now how much of a challenge that really is, but I need all Yukoners to take this seriously…. Staying home will literally save lives.”

Silver recommended that Yukoners struggling with physical distancing requirements to reach out to the mental health support systems available on the government website.

Comments (19)

Up 12 Down 0

Yukon Cornelius on Apr 14, 2020 at 8:19 am

So after leaving the back door to the Yukon wide open for 3 months during an airborne, global pandemic, the 'bearded wonder' is telling Yukoners to stay home because it will 'save lives'?

How ironic. While the first documented global case of COVID-19 disease was traced back to November 17, 2019 (https://www.livescience.com/first-case-coronavirus-found.html) and while SARS-CoV-2 (Coronavirus) raged through Hubei Province and Wuhan, China in December 2019 prompting global public health advisories by the World Health Organization commencing on January 30, 2020, instead of taking proactive steps to protect Yukoners (as other jurisdictions around the world did) the Liberal Yukon Government continued to allow 54 flights/week (7,067 passengers/week) from Vancouver International Airport to land at Whitehorse International Airport.

It doesn't take an Epidemiologist to understand that if you allow flights to land in Whitehorse after the same passengers have walked through the Vancouver Airport terminal where, since January 25, 2020 (the Lunar New Year celebrations) people were either receiving family from, or returning from visiting family in China (as is the custom during Lunar New Year celebrations) as the Coronavirus epidemic raged in China, that some 40 days later (coincidentally, the incubation period for COVID-19 disease) you're going to have people in the Yukon infected with Coronavirus and COVID-19 cases in Yukon's already over-stretched hospitals.

On March 13, 2020 when the Opposition Party demanded what actions Premier Silver was taking to address the Coronavirus global pandemic, Premier Silver called them: "Paranoid".

With 8 (confirmed) cases of Coronavirus in the Yukon, are we still 'paranoid', Mr. Premier?
Thanks to Sandy Silver's abject ineptitude, Yukoners will soon have to make some serious choices as COVID-19 is expected to over-run its already stretched hospitals.

Thanks to another abjectly inept Liberal (in this case, Federal Foreign Affairs Minister François-Philippe Champagne), who shipped 16 tonnes of Canadian medical personal protective equipment (PPE) to China on February 4, 2020, our front line health care professionals face medical PPE shortages and are being/will be exposed to Coronavirus - thereby placing even more pressure on our health care system by reducing the number of health care professionals who can treat COVID-19 patients.




Thanks, Sandy! Merçi François-Philippe!

Up 1 Down 0

Groucho d'North on Apr 12, 2020 at 2:21 pm

@ Propane
Judging by the thumbs up it would appear that many agree with me. Perhaps they too are seniors or others on a fixed income who do not want to shell out hundreds of dollars for a smart phone in order to receive these tweets of little to no importance. Nor do they wish to waste time staring at the app waiting for YG to share the latest nugget of information, that is after sorting through all the other noise to be found on this app. The government has a webpage for official government announcements in the form of a news release. If you can figure out the YG webpage in its new format that is.
I do seek out information from a variety of on-line sources free for the most part and I drop a couple loonies each week for both the News and the Star as well as picking up a copy of the What's Up Yukon publication each week.
Government has an obligation to inform we Yukoners, One would hope that they do this in the simplest manner available for their audience which includes all age categories, economic positions and technical abilities.
Keep It Stupid Simple for all of us.

Up 8 Down 7

@SandySilver on Apr 11, 2020 at 9:56 am

I want to thank Sandy Silver for the rational advice “Yukoners, I want to be crystal clear in saying this: stay home as much as possible,”

Up 12 Down 9

North_of_60 on Apr 10, 2020 at 1:24 pm

What does “flattening the curve” mean? It is based on the hope that our interventions will slow the progress of the disease. By doing so, we won’t get as many deaths on any given day. And this means less strain on a city or a country’s medical system.

Be clear, however, that this is just a delaying tactic. Flattening the curve does not reduce the total number of cases or deaths. It just spreads out the same amount over a longer time period. Valuable indeed, critical at times, but keep in mind that these delaying interventions do not reduce the reach of the infection. Unless your health system is so overloaded that people are needlessly dying, the final numbers stay the same.

Shutting down businesses and the economy isn't justified. Not everyone has a guaranteed government job with generous benefits and a fat pension.

Up 17 Down 9

Propane on Apr 9, 2020 at 4:11 pm

@ Groucho d'North
You want them to bring out the Towne Crier? How about carrier pigeons? Telegraph perhaps?
If you aren't getting the info, that's your choice. Make the effort to inform yourself.

Up 19 Down 7

Oya on Apr 9, 2020 at 2:39 pm

Sweden is setting the best example of what to do. Quarantine the sick and the frail; let the economy continue to work. Be smart. Keep your distance. Those with compromised health, stay home.

Up 18 Down 14

Miles Epanhauser on Apr 8, 2020 at 1:11 pm

Spring is cancelled and it looks like summer and fall may be too.
Think we need to drill down on ways to keep people working and practice precautionary measures.

Too many people are suffering and we need a better balance.
Let's fight fear with actions that move forward.

Up 25 Down 11

Groucho d'North on Apr 8, 2020 at 10:29 am

The Yukon government relies far too much on social media to inform the public. Not all of us Tweet, or subscribe to Snapchat or Instagram, I put up with Facebook but only until I get PO'd and ignore it for a month or so. For decades traditional media has served the needs of Yukoners very well and at the same time it has kept local media staff working to report the issues of the day. Radio and newspaper advertising work great to keep us informed and up to date. Even with the Covid issue, we do not need to be up to the very minute with government announcements as they don't tell us anything really new other than the current tally of infected persons and wash your hands, don't touch your face, stay isolated, respect the social distancing protocols. So Sandy, please advertise more in our traditional local media and save a few jobs at the same time.

Up 14 Down 27

Donovan on Apr 8, 2020 at 8:23 am

My question is how an UN-ELECTED person (chief medical examiner) can make a legal ruling that effects every member of society? If you put 10 Doctors together you will have 10 different ideas on how it should proceed. But we are all suposed to follow the ruling of one person that has never been elected (and is painful to watch trying to explain things ineffectively).

Up 17 Down 2

JC on Apr 7, 2020 at 4:45 pm

Mathew, I don't know where you got the idea that baking soda is healthy. Consuming it is bad for the heart. It's to be avoided. Try again.

Up 5 Down 40

Matthew on Apr 7, 2020 at 1:23 pm

Oh @BnR, want some free health advice? Look into how virus' grow. They only grow in acidic environments. So best way to stay healthy and protect against to ALL virus' is simple.. balance bodies pH level! Baking soda a great way to do so! Look into it! Wow, I solved Covid-19... and countless others for that matter..

Up 21 Down 6

BnR on Apr 7, 2020 at 8:44 am

Dr. Matthew is in the house!

Up 26 Down 16

Yukoner123 on Apr 7, 2020 at 8:27 am

This government is out of touch with its citizens. Literally and figuratively. The premier is a ghost we only see at press conferences, when the transmission is working. He needs to be more active on social media and connect with Yukoners, especially during this time that we are all communicating through social media. And I don't mean just retweeting what Hanley says, like he's doing now.

The biggest fallacy of this whole lockdown is the fact we are allowing 24 hour free passage through the Yukon for unscreened travellers. What kind of protection is a declaration upon arrival to the Yukon? Are these people doctors? Where do you think they are stopping?

Up 16 Down 24

Justin on Apr 7, 2020 at 8:03 am

Matthew, you are hitting it spot on. We as a territory, and as a country, are being lied to on a grand scale. Not misled or even misconstruing the facts.

There are too many inconsistencies in the numbers being presented, the way testing is being (or not being) done, and the facts of how to properly protect yourself and others. Even our top medical officer, Dr. Tam, has gone from saying that masks won’t help, to saying they can be disinfected and reused. Others are still claiming masks won’t help. Yet other researchers are still insisting that this virus is airborne. I posted a link in another comment, to a video on how this is transmitted, and protection/treatment protocols. I noticed by some comments, that it has been viewed, and I thank people for that, and for informing themselves how to be safe.

We now have, by definition in law, martial law in the three territories. It used to be called the war measures act. However, the name was changed in 1988 to the Emergencies Act. Currently its use is being touted as a “health emergency”. The same thing is happening in the eastern provinces. And nobody appears to be saying anything about it. Please take the time to read about the law in Canada, and draw your own conclusions.

There are many people who will say I’m reading too much into this situation. I was still young the last time the act was used in this way, during the october crisis with the FLQ. Read up on that while we all have spare time.
I will repost the video link for those who missed it, and I wish everyone the best of health. Take care of yourself, your families, and your neighbours. Be good to each other.

Thank you all again.

Up 18 Down 24

Golly Gee Mister on Apr 7, 2020 at 7:33 am

Perhaps Matthew has a point... To the rest of you - WTF?
It is interesting that you will hear a Judge justify house arrest or a Conditional Sentence Order (Jail at home) versus and actual jail/prison sentence as having some equivalence or even, sometimes, a more difficult sentence.

Now the government through the mechanism of health and safety has most of us confined to our homes. Think about that. You are doing harder time than the criminals in jail for assault, sexual assault etc on a lesser burden of proof. Not only that they have you convinced, with no evidence, that this is good. WTF! Have you all gone mad?

“We’ve posed these simple questions to many highly trained infectious-disease doctors, epidemiologists, mathematical disease-modelers, and other smart, educated professionals. It turns out that, while you need proof beyond a reasonable doubt to convict a person of theft and throw them in jail, you don’t need any actual evidence (much less proof) to put millions of people into a highly invasive and burdensome lockdown with no end in sight and nothing to prevent the lockdown from being reimposed at the whim of public-health officials. Is this rational?”

Up 29 Down 10

Chad on Apr 7, 2020 at 6:42 am

► Detected: 1,362,016 (+16,012) ► Died: 76,323 (+1,669) ► Day: 89

— 4.3 billion people under lockdown —
— 213 countries and territories infected —
— 4.1x more confirmed deaths than swine flu —
— 62 vaccines and 244 treatments announced —
— 3,087 strains have been sequenced —

40% of cases needing ventilators in Russia are under 40
Indonesia buries 639 with biohazard protection, official toll only 209
51 patients in South Korea reinfected after "recovery"
48% of cases originate from pre-symptomatic transmission
COVID-associated acute bleeding necrotizing brain damage
Survivors will be immunocompromised

Nice to hear you are planning on flying to Wuhan, China to livestream to us all how insignificant this is. I'm sure it's just the flu and will likely cure itself. Herd immunity amirite? It's literally nothing. You could show your solidarity by walking into a hospital and hugging all the infected patients. It's just the flu, no big deal.

Up 22 Down 23

Max Mack on Apr 6, 2020 at 5:54 pm

Silver's statement that "staying home" will save lives is rhetoric to sway the masses. I wonder if Silver and Hanley bother to count Yukoners who have worsened health outcomes because of restrictions on doctor visits, hospital visits, physical activities, and "social distancing" rules, etc?
It is no exaggeration to say that staying home will also cost lives. I guess that kind of math is too hard for Silver and Hanley to contemplate. After all, "never let a crisis go to waste".
Hanley's notion that motorized activities (e.g. snowmobiling) should be curtailed is preposterous. His latent contempt for off-road vehicle users is on full display.

Up 18 Down 28

Miles Epanhauser on Apr 6, 2020 at 5:19 pm

I agree with Matthew.
The virus has not mutated and we should protect the vulnerable who are people who are older and people with medical conditions.
At the same time we could open up things more to keep things going and prevent social collapse that is taking place due to a new form of
the flue.

Up 26 Down 61

Matthew on Apr 6, 2020 at 3:36 pm

Wrong again, as usual. With a death rate of 0.1% it is borderline that the entire economy has to shut down! Again 8511 died from the flu in 2018... we have barely 300 deaths.. So implement a fine to people without a job...? Right, you'll just take away their social credits aka E.I! Already happening, in Ottawa man fined $800 for walking his dog... think about that folks..

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