Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) Updates

Visitor Restrictions and Processes During Covid-19

To ensure that we are supporting patients to connect with family and loved ones, while also protecting our staff and patients, visitation restrictions to health care sites are being constantly re-evaluated as COVID-19 considerations continue to develop.

Long Term Care Visitation

For Long Term care, each resident is allowed to have two designated essential visitors. Only one essential visitor per visit is allowed, and visits with these people can occur either inside in the resident’s room, or outside. These two designated essential visitors should be 18 years of age or older.  Every time they come to visit, the visitors will need to pass screening, have their temperature checked, sign in on the visitor log, and sanitize/wash their hands.

During the visit, the guest must wear a medical mask, maintain a 2 meters physical distance from the resident, and regularly hand-sanitize and wash their hands. Visitors are to only use the public washroom, and must notify staff after use so that it can be cleaned. These restrictions are in place to protect the residents, as elders and seniors have a high risk of serious illness from COVID-19.

Long Term Care Thanksgiving Visits

Thanksgiving is coming up, and we understand that this is a special time to share a meal with your loved ones. Over the three days of the weekend, we will be allowing residents to share a meal with one of their designated essential visitors. 

To ensure there is no cross contamination, these meals will be served by the staff, and residents who have a visitor for this meal will have to sit at their own table with their guest. If the guest chooses to bring their own food, this can only be shared with the resident they are visiting. 

Each facility is only able to have a limited number of visitors at a time to ensure the tables can be properly spaced out. Visitors will need to work with the facility to determine which meal time they can come for. Each facility will decide which meals and days work best to accommodate the visitors and residents who wish to dine together.

After finishing their meal, guests will be required to wear their medical mask. Guests will also be required to follow all the normal visitation guidelines (e.g.: temperature check, hand sanitizing, maintaining 2 metres distance, etc.)

If you are one of a resident’s two designated essential visitors and would like to share a meal with them this Thanksgiving, please contact your local Long Term Care facility for more information or to sign up for a meal seating.


Acute Care Visitation

Visitation to Acute care sites, including Obstetrics and Paediatrics, is now limited to two visitors per stay. Visitors must be identified beforehand by the patient and pass site screening protocols. This means if you are staying in an acute care unit for multiple days, you can indicate two important people or loved ones who will be able to visit you when needed, as long as they pass the regular screening process. 


Outpatient Visitation

For Outpatient care, one support person per visit is allowed, with an exception for Paediatric patients who are allowed two support persons. For example, if you are requiring an ultrasound for your pregnancy, you will now be able to bring a partner or support person for that visit to our outpatient lab and diagnostic imaging clinic; a youth who is undergoing care will be able to have two parents/guardians present as support. 


Palliative Care Visitation

Visitors to Palliative care are limited to two people at any one time, up to six people can designated as visitors but only two visiting at any given time. Visitors who have traveled and need to visit loved ones in Palliative care will need an exemption from Self-Isolation from the CPHO, and will need to follow an infection control plan for the visit.

Please ask to speak with the manager for your care area for directions on getting a visitor exemption.


Screening and Visitors During COVID-19

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic the Northwest Territories Health and Social Services Authority (NTHSSA) continues to adjust our operations. We are working to reduce the potential for spread and exposure for our staff and the public, and have instituted the following measures:

  • Every person entering will be screened for flulike symptoms and personal travel history. Upon entry to these sites you will first be asked questions regarding your current health and any recent travel within and outside Canada. These screening procedures will apply to anyone seeking health care services, as well as visitors.
  • Any visitors displaying any flu like symptoms (cough, fever, difficulty breathing) will be denied visitation access.
  • As of September 14th, 2020, masks are required in all NWT HSS facilities and offices.  Click here to learn more.

Please do not visit care sites unless required. If you need care and services and have flu like symptoms, call ahead before presenting. If you are visiting family or friends remember these additional measures are in place to protect our clients and our staff

In some sites like Long Term Care Facilities, we will also take visitors temperature and have additional screening measure.


Visitor Exemptions

If you believe you require a visitor exemption, speak with your care provider and then they will follow the process below.

Click here to download a PDF version of the Visitor Exemption Process information.

Process for Visitor Exemptions:

  1. Manager or discharge planner may discuss with Chief Operating Officer (COO) in advance a visitor exemption* (not always possible to complete in advance).
  2. Manager or discharge planner to email following details to COO or designate:
    1. Name of visitor
    2. Patient’s relationship with visitor
    3. Unit the patient is admitted
    4. Date(s) visitation is needed (can be indefinite)
    5. Reason visitation is required.
  3. Letter is prepared by administrative assistant or designates (based on information provided in #2), printed and sent to COO for approval.
  4. Once approved, the letter can be scanned for facility records; the original is given to the Manager (often by email and hard copy).
  5. A copy of the letter can be provided to the visitor to be presented to screeners. This ensures ease of visitation approval after appropriate screening has taken place.
  6. If Manager is unavailable and staff requires guidance with visitor exemption, the same request process would be forwarded to the Senior Manager on call for review and approval.
  7. If visitor presents to screener requesting visitation to an area listed in the visitor exemption list. The screener will notify their supervisor who will then follow the process for visitor exemption above.

* Visitor exemptions may include:

  • Palliative care patient
  • Pediatric patient
  • Patient with intellectual/developmental disabilities (visitors include both family and caregivers)
  • Intensive care patient
  • Labour and Delivery patient