The health and safety of our patients, families and clinical teams is of utmost importance as we prepare for potential increases in demand for our services during the COVID-19 pandemic. Find the latest COVID-19 updates at Yukon's hospitals below. For the most up-to-date information in Yukon, visit yukon.ca.
Hospitals are still safe places to seek care. Anyone needing urgent emergency care should visit their closest emergency department.
Mask use in the hospital
We’ve received many questions from Yukoners about mask use in the hospital. Specifically, people want to know if they need to wear a mask to the hospital or why our employees may/may not be wearing a mask.
Patients and visitors are not required to wear a mask unless asked to at a hospital entrance. If you haven’t been asked to wear a mask when you enter, but would feel more comfortable, you may wear one. Hospital employees do not wear masks all the time during their work day. They will only use masks in specific situations.
We understand it can be confusing, as we see news and information from outside the territory where mask use is not the same in Yukon, because our risks are different and lower. Other Canadian hospitals have varying mask use policies.
There are several reasons why you may see someone wearing a mask in Yukon’s hospitals:
- A hospital employee or physician or someone in their household or visiting their household traveled outside the Yukon (including BC, NWT or Nunavut) in the last 14 days – this is an extra safety precaution we’re taking.
- A patient or visitor has been asked to put on a mask at a hospital entrance.
- A patient or visitor feels more comfortable wearing a mask.
- A hospital employee or physician has to put on a mask (and other protective equipment) because it’s required for the work they are doing.
Our hospitals are safe places to be – measures such as screening, visitor restrictions or scheduled appointments (for some services) allow us to continue to take the right steps to keep everyone safe.
Current visitor restrictions
COVID-19 has been a difficult time for all of us, as we’ve had to keep our distance from friends and loved ones. As travel restrictions to/from the territory start to be lifted, Yukon’s hospitals have maintained some visitor restrictions in order to be extra safe for our patients and staff. These measures will continue to be in place for a number of reasons, including the need to limit the number of people in hospital to those who need to be here and maintain physical distancing particularly in areas where space is quite limited.
We reassess these measures and update our policy as the situation changes, or we receive new information.
At this time, a limit of one consistent support person or visitor is allowed for:
- Emergency department and intensive care unit patients
- All admitted patients (NEW! Effective July 6)
- Maternity patients (NEW! Effective July 6 maternity patients will be allowed a midwife or doula in addition to one consistent visitor/support person)
A limit of two visitors at a time to a maximum of five consistent visitors is allowed for:
- Patients near the end of life on advice from a physician
Patients or substitute decision-makers determine who is on their approved visitor list. This list allows our staff to more efficiently and quickly provide access to visitors or support persons who are approved for visitation. Substitutions of a visitor/support person is currently not allowed to ensure we limit the number of people in hospital at this time.
No individuals are currently allowed to accompany or visit patients (except in limited circumstances) in the following areas:
- Bloodwork and lab tests
- Medical imaging exams (x-ray, ultrasound, MRI and CT)
- Visiting specialist clinic appointments
- Cast clinic and minor procedures
- Medical or surgical day care
- Physiotherapy and occupational therapy
Patients will be allowed a visitor or accompanying in these areas if they:
- Are under the age of 18
- Have a disability requiring a support person
- Require a Substitute Decision-Maker (SDM)
- Are post-anesthesia/been administered a medication impacting decision making, involving discharge care instructions, or support leaving the facility in which case the patient will be permitted one consistent support person/visitor.
All support persons/visitors must not have flu-like symptoms, travel outside Yukon in the past 14 days, and close/prolonged contact with someone who has travelled outside Yukon in the last 14 days and has symptoms. Visitors and support persons must not have tested positive or been in contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 without completing their 14-day self-isolation. Proper hand hygiene is critical at this time when entering and leaving the hospital and patient room.
We will update the visitor policy at any time as the situation requires.
Coming to the hospital
Yukon’s hospitals are safe places to come if you need medical care or a health service. Only come to a hospital emergency department if you need urgent emergency care. All other hospital services (such as bloodwork, x-rays and imaging exams, elective surgeries, etc.) are by appointment only.
We are working hard to ensure timely access to the services you need during this time. We ask that you let us know in advance (by telling our staff who call with your appointment time or a screener at the hospital entrance) if you have traveled or plan to travel prior to visiting the hospital or attending a scheduled appointment. This allows us to look at options such as scheduling a different time or taking additional precautions while you’re in hospital.
When you arrive, you can expect to be greeted by a screener who will take a couple minutes to ask you a few questions. At the hospital, a screener plays a critical (and sometimes difficult) role to help identify risks and take the right steps to keep everyone safe.
Asking the questions takes only a minute, but it really does help us to better assist you and you’ll be on your way in no time. Answering ‘yes’ does not necessarily mean you won’t receive a hospital service, but it gives us information to:
- Better direct you to the right place for the care you need
- Better control the flow of people into the building while ensuring timely access to services and helping to maintain safe physical distancing in some small space
- Gives our team a ‘heads-up’ so they can take the right precautions, put on the right protective equipment (if needed), and care for you in the best treatment area
It's also the perfect opportunity to ensure everyone cleans their hands on their way into the hospital and knows important information about what's happening. We appreciate your ongoing patience, cooperation and support.
Appointments for bloodwork and lab tests
For bloodwork and lab tests at Whitehorse General Hospital, Yukoners are used to ‘walking in’ without a scheduled appointment time. In response to COVID-19, we have moved these services to appointment only for the time being. These measures are necessary to ensure access to services, while keeping everyone safe.
Your physician will send your lab referral to the hospital. The hospital will call you with a date/time to have your bloodwork or lab test.
If you haven’t heard from the hospital within one (1) week, call the lab directly at 867-393-8739 (press 1 from the list of options) unless you’ve been directed otherwise by your physician.
We are currently experiencing higher than normal volumes, but want to reassure you that we are working to have your test completed in a safe and timely manner. We thank you for your ongoing patience and help, as the lab team supports you and others during this time.
Other non-urgent services that were temporarily suspended due to COVID-19 (such as scheduled surgeries, X-ray, MRI, CT, ultrasound, physio/OT and visiting specialist appointments) have also resumed – and continue to be available by appointment.
Hospital-related COVID-19 questions
Have COVID-19 questions specifically related to Yukon Hospitals? Call our dedicated COVID-19 phone line: 867-393-9040.
Please note: This line is not for medical advice or emergencies. If you need medical advice or have health concerns, call 811. If you're experiencing an emergency, call 911 or visit the nearest emergency department.
COVID-19 testing in Yukon
You should be tested for COVID-19 if:
You have travelled OR had close contact with a person with a recent travel history who was or is now symptomatic OR are a known close contact to a confirmed case of COVID-19 and you have any symptoms such as cough, fever/chills, sore throat, headache, runny nose or nasal congestion, fatigue or muscle aches or difficulty breathing
If you have not travelled outside of Yukon but have symptoms such as cough, fever and/or difficulty breathing.
In either case, phone 811 before visiting a testing site.
In communities: Call your local health centre to arrange for testing. Find your community health centre here.
In Whitehorse: Call 811 or your family physician.