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Yukon to set up respiratory assessment centre for COVID-19 and flu

The Yukon government says it will set up a special centre in Whitehorse for people with acute respiratory illness to be assessed for influenza or COVID-19.

People who need medical help to be sent to facility at Yukon Convention Centre in Whitehorse

Yukon Health Minister Pauline Frost says the respiratory assessment centre is being prepared for service, and there will be more information 'in the coming days.' (Jane Sponagle/CBC)

The Yukon government says it will set up a special centre in Whitehorse for people with acute respiratory illness to be assessed for influenza or COVID-19.

The respiratory assessment centre will be set up at the Yukon Convention Centre "in the coming days," according to a Thursday news release.

It will not be a drop-in centre. Rather, Yukoners who need help will be directed there through telephone advice from health-care professionals. The facility will be staffed by doctors, nurses and support staff.

Yukon does not have any confirmed cases of COVID-19, but officials declared a public health emergency on Wednesday to help them monitor and prepare for any local outbreak.

Health officials said Wednesday that somewhere between 100 and 200 tests had been done so far in Yukon, and that results are being delayed by a backlog at the lab in B.C.

In a statement on Thursday, Health Minister Pauline Frost thanked Northern Vision Development for donating use of the Convention Centre as a respiratory assessment centre. 

"We are working diligently to prepare the centre for service and will provide more information about the centre's services in the coming days," her statement reads.

Health officials are advising Yukoners concerned about COVID-19 to use an online self-assessment tool, or call 811 for health advice. Officials say people with non-urgent concerns should seek advice by phone before going to the hospital.

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