Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) Updates

Visitor Restrictions and Processes During Covid-19

Patient/client/resident safety is at the forefront of all interactions that take place in the Northwest Territories Health and Social Services sites.  In order to safeguard our most vulnerable populations,prevention and early detection must be in place when visitors are accessing healthcare facilities during the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • Patients/clients/residents in hospital/health centre facilities are highly vulnerable; because of this, visitors are highly encouraged to be fully vaccinated before entering the healthcare facility  to visit.
  • Visitors and support people who are symptomatic will not be permitted to visit in the hospital/health centre. Patients/clients who are symptomatic and have appointments at the hospital/health centre, should call ahead before arriving to facility for additional guidance on whether to attend the appointment or re-schedule.
  • People on self-isolation should not be visiting patients/clients/residents in the hospital. Persons in self-isolation requesting to visit hospital facilities must submit for an exemption and abide by all requirements of the exemption.
  • No children under 12 years old may visit. All children regardless of age are permitted in healthcare facilities when seeking medical care. The decision to not allow children less than 12 years of age to visit is based on the age of vaccination rules. Children under the age of 12 do not qualify for COVID-19 vaccinations; therefore, they provide an increased risk of possible transmission of the COVID-19 virus to vulnerable patients while visiting in healthcare facilities. Parents are encouraged to seek childcare options when attending their personal appointments instead of bringing children under the age of 12 with them.

Designated Visitors and Support Persons

Designated Visitors and Support Persons must be over the age of 14. Designated visitors must be identified by the patient beforehand and able to pass screening protocols. Patients and designated visitors are encouraged to make alternate child care arrangements for children not receiving health care services, to avoid bringing them to the hospital.

NTHSSA recognizes the significance and importance of Elders, Elders Helpers and Traditional Knowledge Keepers, and other pastoral care members. If the patient/client/resident requests, these individuals are welcome to visit at end-of-life as these individuals are considered members of the care team; therefore, do not count in the total number of designated visitors. They are required to meet screening eligibility for access to the facility, be asymptomatic, and follow all other requirements for physical distancing and PPE as appropriate.

Doulas, patient’s lawyer for scheduled appointments and social workers (e.g. child and family services) are not part of the designated visitors and an exemption is not required.


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.


Acute Care Visitation

Inpatients can designate a maximum of 2 visitors who can visit at the same time. These visitors must maintain a minimum physical distance of 2 metres from the patient/client while in the patient/client room and adhere strictly to all other facility requirements in place at the time such as: hand hygiene and wearing a mask, or other precautions determined to be appropriate by the unit manager.


Outpatient Visitation

For outpatient services, including day procedures, adult patients/clients are permitted one visitor. Pediatric patients/clients are permitted two visitors. Due to physical distancing requirements, patients are discouraged from bringing support people with them to the Emergency, Laboratory, Diagnostic Imaging and Respiratory Therapy departments, unless necessary.


Palliative Care Visitation

Palliative care inpatients/residents can designate a maximum of 8 visitors who are allowed to visit 2 at a time in facility. The visiting pairs must remain consistent and the same two people must visit together each time. If children have been granted visitation exemption, the 8 designated visitors include children.


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 they will help you with the process to request an exemption for visitation.