Public Notice - Updates on Stanton Oxygen Supply Issue

(Yellowknife, September 25, 2021) The Northwest Territories Health and Social Services Authority (NTHSSA) is updating the public on the oxygen infrastructure issues at Stanton that were initially announced on September 22, 2021.

Media are advised that a briefing on this issue will be planned for early next week, with details to be announced when finalized.

NTHSSA has been working with partners at the Department of Infrastructure and Dexterra to complete assessments of systems within the hospital to understand capacity limits in regard to oxygen delivery in the facility and how this affects care as COVID-19 hospitalizations continue.

To date the following work has been done to address this issue:

  • Engaged Department of Infrastructure to work with Dexterra and NTHSSA to identify technical expertise in addressing the oxygen system issues.
  • NTHSSA has created a secondary ICU site within the hospital to distribute the patients requiring ventilator support to a separate oxygen distribution zone;
  • Prepared for the use of bedside oxygen tanks, which have yet to be implemented but are being readied should they be required
  • Worked remotely with the contractor who installed the oxygen infrastructure at Stanton and have arranged an immediate site visit to assist with finding a solution. Technicians are scheduled to be on site over the Sept 25-26 weekend.
  • Examined options for further oxygen generation or distribution options beyond tank-based solutions, such as adding capacity to the current oxygen distribution system or setting up an additional separate external oxygen generation and distribution system.  
  • Discussions regarding federal support have indicated potential equipment availability that will add capacity for oxygen delivery at Stanton and assessment is ongoing to confirm this and plan how it may be implemented to address this issue.

At this point this issue has not impacted our ability to care for COVID-19 patients or others who require emergency care, however it has led to delays for certain procedures or appointments.

Further to the service level notice for Stanton that was released on September 8, 2021, as resources are redirected to addressing these issues NTHSSA would like to advise that in addition to the service changes announced on September 8, 2021 there will be further reductions of services. Changes are as follows:

  • Exercise Stress Tests will continue to be booked for urgent needs only.
  • Elective surgeries and non-urgent procedures will be evaluated and most will be cancelled effective Friday, September 24, through until Friday, October 1, 2021.
  • Non-essential Physiotherapy, Occupational Therapy and Speech Language Pathology appointments will be cancelled from Friday, September 24 through until Friday, October 1, 2021.

Clients who are impacted by these changes will be contacted directly for rebooking. Updates will continue to be provided as the situation develops. All residents are asked to help us protect our health system by helping to reduce the spread of COVID-19. You can do this by getting vaccinated if you haven’t already, and by coming alone to appointments or bringing the minimum number of support people necessary.

Again, residents are reminded that more than ever it is critical to continue to work together to protect our limited health system capacity by following the guidance provided by the Chief Public Health Officer – wear a mask, limit gathering, get tested if you are symptomatic, and most of all, please get vaccinated if you have not already done so.