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Public health emergency in Yukon

Dr. Brendan Hanley (left) and Premier Sandy Silver address media Wednesday morning. Photo: Tim Kucharuk/CKRW.

The declaration means the Chief Medical Officer of Health now has the ability to enforce his directives in the name of public safety; schools, rec centres, libraries closed.

Yukon's Chief Medical Officer of Health has declared a public health emergency in Yukon due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Dr. Brendan Hanley made the declaration late Wednesday morning, despite no cases in the territory, 

"It opens up a few more leavers and allows us to respond more rapidly and more effectively to the potential demands of the COVID epidemic," Hanley told a limited room of reporters which contained just enough government staff to run the press conference.

"We have reached a decision point for the schools, where classes will be suspended in Yukon until after Easter."

Hanley says all public recreation facilities, including the Canada Games Centre, and libraries will be required to close until further notice and Yukon Hospitals are closed to visitors with limited exceptions.

Hanley says the threat of COVID-19 in Yukon is very real and inevitable.

He says B.C. is ramping up testing efforts, and so far, 120 tests have come back to the territory--all negative.

Hanley says Yukon's testing effort is aggressive and notes the right people need to be tested, which are those who travelled out of the country.

"People who have a flu-like illness and they don't have a travel history, or they have a travel history from Canada, they almost certainly have influenza, or influenza-like illness (from) another kind of virus," Hanley said. "If they're not sick, they don't have to be tested."

Silver Speaks On Financial Supports, Community

Premier Sandy Silver was also at Wednesday's media briefing.

He says the government hears Yukoners financial concerns.

"We know that support is coming and that we will be there for you when needed," Silver said. "We are working very closely with the federal government and our partners throughout the territory to make sure that supports are available for those impacted."

"We will be communicating to the businesses and the community through the Chamber of Commerce, and the Tourism Industry Association as this situation develops."

Silver says he can see Yukoners are coming together.

"This is truly inspiring and I ask you all to continue in this spirit," Silver says. "Yukon is an extremely strong community. That's why we live here. I urge you all to continue to support each other, to check in on each other, to reach out and meet people where they are to show the community-minded spirit that makes this territory so great."

Dr. Hanley recommended Yukon M-L-A's wrap up their budget deliberation work as soon as possible, and Silver says a vote on the budget will likely happen Thursday.

(With reporting by Tim Kucharuk.)

(This is an updated story. The previous version is below.)

______________

Yukon's Chief Medical officer of health has declared a public health emergency in Yukon.

The declaration allows the Chief medical officer of health to respond more rapidly to the changing situation and ensure the safety of Yukoners.

New measures are being put in place to help prevent the spread of Coronavirus.

- All classes are suspended at all Yukon public schools until April 15, or until further notice.

- All public recreation facilities required to close until further notice.

- All three Yukon hospitals are now closed to visitors, with limited exceptions.*

Dr. Brendan Hanley says Yukon is continuing to ramp up its response as all of Canada braces for COVID-19.

Hanley says Yukon has no confirmed cases at this time, but the threat of COVID-19 is very real and inevitable.

He says " We're still in a good place " by taking these precautions.

Hanley is advising MLA's to pass the budget as soon as possible.

 

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