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1 person charged in Yukon for not self-isolating, as Yukon reports no active cases

All of Yukon's 11 confirmed cases of COVID-19 have recovered, the territory's chief medical officer said Friday. But lifting restrictions and public health orders will take time, officials said.

All 11 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Yukon now recovered, says chief medical officer

Dr. Brendan Hanley, Yukon's chief medical officer of health, gave an update on COVID-19 in the territory Friday afternoon. There are now no active cases in the territory, he said. (Government of Yukon/Alistair Maitland)

Yukon Justice Minister Tracy-Ann McPhee announced Friday that someone has been charged under Yukon's Civil Emergency Measure Act for allegedly failing to self-isolate as required.

McPhee said the person was charged Thursday. She did not offer further details, saying they will be considered as evidence in court. 

The person charged will appear in court on May 5.

Also on Friday, Yukon's chief medical officer announced that all of the territory's 11 confirmed cases of COVID-19 have recovered.

But Dr. Brendan Hanley also reiterated that reopening the territory and lifting public health orders will be done slowly and incrementally over the coming weeks or months.

"We want to take a calm and measured approach," Hanley said.

Yukon hasn't seen a new confirmed case of COVID-19 in the last two weeks. In that time, the territory also relaxed testing criteria, resulting in a small spike in new tests over the last week.

"People see our low numbers and wonder why we have to keep things locked down so tightly," Hanley said at Friday's news conference.

He said the territory is still developing a plan for reopening, and he urged people to be patient.

Ahead of other jurisdictions

Hanley said Yukon is ahead of most other jurisdictions in Canada, in terms of controlling the spread of the novel coronavirus. He said that means the territory has not had to introduce as many restrictions as elsewhere.

Still, he said, it's important to not rush things despite the economic, social and mental hardships associated with the public health measures. 

"It's hard to say 'not yet,' it's hard to say 'soon, but slowly,'" he said.

"Life will not go back to what it was before, for a long time — but we can definitely get some of our normal back."

Hanley did announce one change — Yukon hospitals will now begin offering some elective and non-urgent services that were suspended last month in response to the pandemic. That includes things such as non-urgent blood work, X-rays, imaging tests and physiotherapy.

As of Thursday, 999 people had been tested in Yukon for COVID-19. Results were pending on 21 of those cases.

New orders under act

McPhee also announced on Friday new orders under the territory's Civil Emergency Measures Act — although she stressed that they were "not about restrictions."

"These orders are specifically designed to help Yukoners during this challenging time," she said.

Watch Friday's news conference here:

The orders include suspensions of limitation periods for civil and family actions that would have expired during or soon after the territory's state of emergency ends, as well as extensions on some affidavits or statutory declarations.

Other orders allow deputy ministers to alter terms of government contracts in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, and also extend leases, licences, certificates and permits for up to 90 days after the state of emergency ends. 

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