Old Crow asking for 2-week 'community-wide' isolation as precaution

The community of Old Crow, Yukon, is asking residents and any visitors to voluntarily self-isolate for two weeks.

Some community members were at COVID-19 exposure sites in Whitehorse, says Vuntut Gwitchin chief 

Residents in Old Crow, Yukon, are doing a voluntary 'soft isolation' after potential COVID-19 exposures in Whitehorse. (Leonard Linklater/CBC)

The community of Old Crow, Yukon, is asking for residents and visitors to voluntarily self-isolate for two weeks out of "an abundance of caution."

At least three community members were recently at potential COVID-19 exposure sites in Whitehorse, said Vuntut Gwitchin Chief Dana Tizya-Tramm. They are now isolating, but they had been in the community for several days before the exposure notices came out.

"Right now we're asking for a voluntary self-isolation, community-wide," said Tizya-Tramm, adding that the recommendation went into effect Thursday.

The Yukon government announced several exposure sites in Whitehorse after confirming the territory's 26th COVID-19 case on Wednesday. The territory's 25th case was also out of Whitehorse, and also came with a few exposure sites in the city.

Nobody in Old Crow is exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms at this time, Tizya-Tramm said.

He said these notices hit home for him personally, as he had been in close contact with one of the people who was potentially exposed. Tizya-Tramm is now isolating at home with family.

He called it a "soft isolation," as there is still a skeleton crew in the government office, and the community school will remain open.

At this time, the community only wants people coming into Old Crow for essential reasons, he said. Anyone who comes to the community is also being asked to self-isolate, except for essential workers. 

Tizya-Tramm urged people in the community to monitor for symptoms.

"It feels like our community is holding its breath and just waiting to see what happens next," he said.

Dana Tizya-Tramm is chief of the Vuntut Gwitchin First Nation in Yukon. (Mike Rudyk/CBC)

Meanwhile, the government has ended the B.C. travel bubble, meaning anyone entering the territory must self-isolate for 14 days. 

Yukon Premier Sandy Silver said Thursday that people should "think carefully" about travel within the territory.

Tizya-Tramm said they decided to isolate Old Crow out of "an abundance of caution." He said they are co-ordinating a location where people who exhibit symptoms can get tested.

He said it would be "heartbreaking" to lose an elder in the community.

"This is the safest route we can go," he said.

The Yukon government has asked anyone who was at the following locations during the the times listed to call the COVID-19 testing centre in Whitehorse, or their community's health centre, if they develop symptoms:

  • Starbucks on Main Street in Whitehorse, on Nov. 12 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m., or Nov. 13 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m.
  • Starbucks on Chilkoot Way in Whitehorse, on Nov. 14 between 6:30 p.m. and 8:30 p.m.
  • Better Bodies in Whitehorse, on Nov. 12 between 6:30 p.m. and closing, or Nov. 13 between 6:30 p.m. and closing.
  • Diwali Festival at 120 Copper Rd. in Whitehorse, on Nov. 14 between 3 p.m. and 6 p.m. 
  • Giorgio's Cuccina in Whitehorse, on Nov. 14 between 7 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. 
  • Tony's Pasta and Seafood House in the SKKY hotel, on the Alaska Highway in Whitehorse, on Nov. 14 between 7 p.m. and 9:30 p.m.
  • Listers Motor Sports, between 8:30 a.m. and noon on Tuesday, Nov. 10.
  • Save-On-Foods, before 1 p.m. on Nov. 6.
  • A&W restaurant, between 3 and 6:30 p.m. on Nov. 8.

With files from Mike Rudyk