PUBLIC NOTICE: NTHSSA Advising Residents to Expect Limited Services in Advance of and After Public Re-Entry

Public Notice

(Yellowknife, September 1, 2023) – NWT residents are being advised to expect limited services at the time of Yellowknife re-entry as the health and social services system ramps-up services. At the current time almost all health services in Yellowknife are suspended, except for basic emergency department care.  Reinstating services will take time with a focus initially on life-sustaining services, although our goal will be to return to pre-evacuation service levels as quickly and as safely as we are able.

When the Yellowknife evacuation order ends and the initial public return to the community begins; the following services are anticipated to be available, pending confirmation of appropriate levels of qualified staff:

Stanton Territorial Hospital:

  • Routine emergency department services.
  • In-patient acute care at reduced capacity (currently planning for 10 general inpatient beds).
  • Emergency surgical services (life-threatening).
  • Emergency obstetrics for unexpected obstetrical care needs (to be managed in the emergency department in the first phase of resumption).
  • Support services including lab, diagnostic imaging, medical device reprocessing, and materials management, and certain facility services.

Yellowknife Region Health and Social services and programs – limited community services:

  • Primary care may only be open for limited walk-in appointments,
  • Mental Health will provide virtual services and limited in-person services,
  • Public Health will be closed but begin to schedule urgent and missed appointments,
  • Child and Family services will provide logistical and support for clients’ re-entry (i.e. Foster families, and NGO’s) as well as emergency child protection service
  • Home care services will be reduced.  Staff will be contacting existing clients to discuss what services they can be offered
  • Shelter services will be available as of the date of general public re-entry, but may be limited until staffing stabilizes.

At service resumption – when the broader community returns – the following services WILL NOT be available:

  • Intensive Care Unit (ICU) services: If you become critically ill, you will likely require a medevac out of territory.
  • Routine obstetrical services will not be available. Emergency obstetrical services with limited capacity will be available. Individuals who are 33 weeks or less at the time when the public evacuation order is lifted, and who do not have significant pregnancy complications, may return. Those who are currently 33 weeks or more will be contacted directly with instructions on accessing ongoing care. Be aware obstetrical services will remain limited in the first 7-14 days after public re-entry.  
  • Chemotherapy, dialysis and IV therapy will not be available.  .For the time being anyone accessing these services should continue to receive care in their current location and not return. Further updates will be provided directly by your NWT care team.
  • Surgical services: limited emergency services may be available but if you require urgent surgery, you may require medevac.
  • Pediatric admissions: children requiring admission to hospital may require medevac to southern facilities.

We understand there may be individuals who are concerned about the availability of health and social services in Yellowknife. Should you choose not to return to your home community after an evacuation order is lifted because of this concern, please be aware that supports for evacuees may cease when re-entry flights have been completed. 

Further details about supports for returning home will be released by community government, local authorities and the NWT Emergency Management Organization (EMO). If you have special needs or mobility issues please identify these when you register for re-entry flights.   

Patients in specified groups that are being advised not to return (dialysis, chemotherapy, IV therapy, individuals with advanced or high-risk pregnancies) will be contacted directly with more information. For these individuals that will be required to stay outside their home community due to availability of necessary health services beyond the time when evacuee supports end, transition to Medical Travel supports will be coordinated. 

Long Term Care/Extended Care and inpatients that were evacuated as part of long term care or in-patient evacuations will be repatriated towards the end of the service resumption period. Repatriation will be dependent on facilities within the resident/patient's home community being open and not under evacuation order. More details on this will be provided directly to patients/residents and their families.

It is expected full service resumption and stabilization could take up to one month. As staff return, we will endeavour to resume regular service levels as quickly as possible and will provide regular updates to the public, and directly to the individuals and families who reside in our facilities or are under our ongoing care.

Click here to download the NTHSSA Path to Re-Entry Graphic.

Related links: