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Yukon’s top doctor urges extra care when travelling to prevent community COVID spread


WHITEHORSE — Yukon’s chief medical officer says some in the territory might feel they are in the “eye of some huge, global COVID cyclone,” but cases in Yukon sit at 25.

Dr. Brendan Hanley says all cases in Yukon have been linked to travel and there is no evidence of community spread.

During the latest briefing with Premier Sandy Silver on Tuesday, Hanley says border restrictions such as the 14-day isolation period required in Nunavut are being examined “closely.” 

But he also says it’s more important to prevent spread within Yukon than limit outside travel, pointing to Nunavut’s stringent restrictions that did not prevent an outbreak there.

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Silver says Yukon could set restrictions on movement to and from certain regions of a province, such as British Columbia, where COVID-19 cases have increased in Greater Vancouver.  

Hanley says Yukon residents are responsible for respecting public health orders, including the one allowing only essential travel in and out of B.C.’s Lower Mainland.

“If you have plans to visit the Lower Mainland this week or next, you should seriously reconsider the timing and evaluate whether your travel is essential or not,” Hanley says.

Later on Tuesday, Hanley issued a statement saying another COVID-19 case had been confirmed. The additional case was linked to a previous case, he said. 

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A public exposure alert has been issued for those in Whitehorse who were at the Save-On-Foods on Nov. 6, the A&W restaurant on Nov. 8 and Listers Motor Sports on Nov. 10. 

He also reminds Yukon residents to maintain “a low profile” on their return to the territory and self-monitor for 14 days once they are home.

“COVID is unavoidable,” Hanley says, likening it to “frigid winter air looking for its way into a warm house.”

But he says taking the right precautions, avoiding large gatherings, wearing a mask and doing other recommended measures offer the best protection.

“This is all we can do, at this point,” says Hanley.

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Silver says preparations have already been made to store, distribute and administer a vaccine when one is approved for distribution.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 17, 2020.

The Canadian Press

Source: National Newswatch. Continue reading this article at National Newswatch.

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