Yukon seeks help from the federal government to deal with the “widespread community transmission” of COVID-19
The Yukon is at a critical juncture of the pandemic, is testing the limits of its healthcare system, and is seeking help according to its Minister of Health, Tracy McPhee.
The territory has sought help from the federal government and other jurisdictions because it is fighting what McPhee called “widespread community transmission.”
“The current wave is the biggest challenge we have faced so far, and we all need to unite to stop the spread of COVID-19,” McPhee said in a media update on Wednesday.
According to a press release issued on Wednesday evening, between Tuesday and Wednesday, 15 new cases were reported in the area-7 in Whitehorse and 8 in other communities. There are now 134 active cases in the Yukon.
Dr. Brendan Hanley, Chief Medical Officer of Health, said the region is requesting additional staff, including nurses and social workers, and assistance in contact tracing and logistical support.
“Everyone is tired, we are overburdened,” Hanley said.
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McPhee said that seven nurses are coming from Ontario.
Although Canada has the highest vaccination rate – more than 60% of residents are vaccinated – the region is responding to what Hanley said for the first time “True Wave” COVID-19.
“At present, the probability of contracting this virus is as high as ever in the Yukon,” he said.
The rapid response team has been sent to Carmacks and Pelly Crossing to temporarily support the staff of the community health center. Hanley said that working closely with communities in the Yukon is the number one priority in limiting transmission.
He went on to say that 82% of cases occurred in people who were not vaccinated. He said that 12% of people have been fully vaccinated, but the symptoms are mild.
Since June 1, 16 people have been hospitalized and 8 of them are still in the hospital. Three of the cases have been sent to the south for further treatment.
In general, the cases range from 1 year old to 90 years old. The largest number of cases is in the age group of 10 to 19 years old, followed by the age group of 20 to 29 years old.
51 cases tested positive for the gamma variant.
“Not the summer we planned”
A public notice was issued on Tuesday, applicable to anyone at 98 Hotel Whitehorse between June 19 and 27, that the city’s Bambinos bilingual Montessori daycare center has been closed.
If possible, Hanley has asked parents to keep their children away from day care in the next two weeks.
He also asked residents to consider postponing any activities or downsizing. He suggested limiting gatherings to 10 people wearing masks indoors and 20 people keeping physical distance outdoors, but he strongly encourages gatherings of no more than 6 people.
“We need to go all out until we can take a breath, get reinforcements in place, and start to reverse the situation in the next few weeks. I ask you to make every effort to reduce contact with other people,” he said.
“This is not the summer we planned.”