No plan to further lift isolation requirements in Yukon, officials say
Chief medical officer says he's 'not comfortable with the numbers I'm seeing,' elsewhere in Canada
Yukon health officials say an uptick in the number of COVID-19 cases in some parts of the country means there's no immediate plan to further ease isolation restrictions in the territory.
Right now, people who come to Yukon from B.C. or the other territories are not required to self-isolate on arrival. Travellers from elsewhere, however, must isolate themselves for 14 days on arrival.
Chief Medical Officer Dr. Brendan Hanley said on Wednesday that officials had been looking to ease that isolation requirement, soon — in particular, for people arriving from Alberta — but have decided that now is not the time.
"I feel that we're not quite ready to do that. I'm not comfortable with the numbers I'm seeing, nor with the level of risk that exists, for us to be able to remove that requirement for self-isolation, for Albertans," Hanley said.
"Given what we are presently seeing in B.C., we need to take a few more weeks to get a better picture on which way the trends are going."
B.C. saw a spike in new infections over the weekend, with 102 new confirmed cases between Friday and Monday, and 30 more on Tuesday. More than half the cases have been linked to events and parties in the Kelowna area over the past several weeks.
Still, Hanley said there's no plan to rethink the travel bubble that's been in place with B.C. since July 1, "unless we were to see something much more widespread, and much more of a clear and present threat."
Yukoners returning home should keep a 'low profile'
Hanley advised any Yukoners who travel outside of the territory to pay attention to what's happening where they are, and then keep a "low profile" when they return to the territory.
"Avoid social gatherings, especially large or random social gatherings," he said.
Premier Sandy Silver also urged Yukoners — especially young people — to continue to be cautious and avoid having large parties or gatherings of any sort.
"We have seen how risky social gatherings can be, and have recently seen significant spread resulting from private gatherings, in people's homes and in other indoor spaces in other regions, in Canada and in the States," he said.
Hanley said the territory is otherwise still on track to move to phase three of its reopening plan on August 1. That phase will be a long one, he said.
Officials haven't released many specific details about phase three, but said it will involve changes internal to the territory. That could mean larger gatherings, expansions of family bubbles, and resuming organized sports.
Hanley also said he's still not in favour of making masks mandatory for Yukoners, except in certain settings — such as a personal care establishment, where physical distancing is not possible.
"I feel a long way from mandating mask use," Hanley said.