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  • Writer's pictureKlondike Kate

Chief Medical Officer launches BS campaign for Yukon

WHITEHORSE - As Canada relies on facts to respond to COVID-19, Yukon's Chief Medical Officers says the territory is "special"

Nancy McCormick and her granddaughter Katie Fraser model the Government of Yukon-issued hats at the launch of the 'Blinkers-Special' campaign

While Canada and the rest of the world step up COVID-19 readiness and preparedness measures, Yukon sees the launch of an anti-fact campaign to deal with the global pandemic.

At a public event on March 16, Yukon Minister of Health and Social Services Pauline Frost, Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Brendan Hanley, and Deputy Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Catherine Elliott presented a detailed overview of the territorial government's "Blinkers - Special" public health campaign.

"Yukon has always been special," Hanley told members of the public and media gathered at the event. "The 'Blinkers-Special,' or BS campaign, is our way of telling COVID-19 that we refuse to give in to the facts. This is the best way to let the virus know it isn't welcome here."

"This is the best way to let the virus know it isn't welcome" - Dr. Brendan Hanley, Chief Medical Officer of Health

Hanley added that the campaign was designed and planned in collaboration with Yukon Premier Sandy Silver and Minister Frost.

"As part of the BS campaign" Minister Frost explained "we are distributing hats with built-in blinkers to communities across the Yukon. If you see or hear facts around the coronavirus, you simply pull down the blinkers on each side of the hat."

During the launch event, Ellliot gave an overview of the BS campaign's key messages. Top of the priority list, according to Elliot, is the practice of "social proximity."

"By encouraging large gatherings in social settings," Ellliot said "the virus can see that we're serious about avoiding the facts. We have already seen some success with this strategy. On Friday we endorsed a public meeting of hundreds of Arctic Winter Games volunteers and athletes. That event took place without a hitch."

"By encouraging large gatherings in social settings, the virus can see that we're serious about avoiding the facts" - Dr. Catherine Elliott, Deputy Chief Medical Officer of Health

In response to a question about how Yukon's advice differs from that of Canada's Chief Medical Officer Dr. Theresa Tam, Elliot responded by giving an example of disinformation in action. "Last week I told the public that people who have no symptoms cannot pass COVID-19 onto others. There have been no confirmed cases since I said that."

A March 11 post from the Facebook page of Yukon Health and Social Services

Minister Frost reacted angrily when asked how the Yukon was preparing for an outbreak of the coronavirus. "Stop asking me that. The Premier has been very clear on this. We are working with our partners."

"Focus on what matters"

Minister Frost ended the presentation by saying that the public should focus on what matters most at a time like this. "What's important here is that we recognize people are very upset at the cancellation of the Arctic Winter Games. We need to ensure these people are offered every support to cope with this devastating blow in the time of a global pandemic."

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