This morning, the Chief Medical Officer of Health confirmed the latest cases are of the variant.
At this morning’s COVID-19 update, Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Brendan Hanley reported that Yukon’s last two cases are linked to a family group that entered the Yukon from outside of the territory. Dr. Hanley confirmed that the cases are the first of the P.1 variant in the Yukon.
Dr. Hanley says that little is known of P.1 compared to other variants, but more is being learnt everyday. He says the P.1 variant was originally associated with Brazil. According to Dr. Hanley, the same public safety measures implemented to stop the spread of traditional COVID-19 work to stop variants.
With much of Canada experiencing a third wave and imposing more restrictions and lock downs, Dr Hanley went on to say that there are plans in place for what to do if things get worse. Hanley says if there are increased hospitalizations and community spread in the territory, additional steps may have to be taken.
Dr. Hanley mentioned that the future is unpredictable as the virus continues to change.
“I know we never thought that this pandemic would surpass 12 months, but here we are. And although I wish we could, we can not predict what this is going to look like in a few months or even in a few weeks as the virus does continue to go through quite drastic changes, and of course, that part is beyond our control. Even with today’s news, though it may not always seem like it, we are in a good position and while others are locking down, we are having these conversations and looking forward to when we can begin to lift some restrictions.” Says Dr. Hanley.
Dr. Hanley went on to say that as more Yukoners get vaccinated, it is possible that in the future, self isolation requirements could be relaxed, but now is not the time. Currently 70 percent of Yukon's eligible population is vaccinated. Dr. Hanley says vaccine uptake has slowed down, but it is still increasing. The age group with the lowest vaccination rates is 18-29, sitting around 54 percent. Dr. Hanley says that is an area of the population where COVID-19 has potential to spread.