COVID-19 Updates

Visitor Restrictions and Processes During Covid-19

Visitation restrictions will remain in place to protect the vulnerable population in hospital facilities. Current visitation will be reassessed after June 30, 2022.

Screening and Visitors during COVID-19

In response to the COVID-19, the NTHSSA has instituted the following measures at hospital facilities:

  • Every person entering will be screened for flulike and other COVID-19 symptoms. These screening procedures will apply to anyone seeking health care services as well as visitors.
  • Any visitors displaying any flu-like or COVID-19 symptoms (cough, fever, difficulty breathing), having a known exposure to COVID-19, or having a positive COVID-19 result in the last 10 days, will be asked to visit another time.
  • Medical grade masks are required in all NWT HSS facilities and offices (they will be provided).
  • In some sites like Long Term Care Facilities, we will also take visitors temperature and have additional screening measures.

Please do not visit care sites unless required. If you need care and services and have flu-like or COVID-19 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.

Thank you for your continued patience and cooperation as we protect patients, families, staff, and work to ensure our sites remain safe for all residents of the NWT.

Visiting Access Overview

All individuals are required to complete screening and practice hand hygiene, physical distancing and continuous masking when at the site.

For patients who have current active COVID-19 infections and are not yet recovered: No visitors will be allowed unless an exemption is approved. Virtual options will be facilitated by staff.

  • Patients/clients/residents in healthcare facilities are often highly vulnerable; because of this, visitors are highly encouraged to be fully vaccinated before entering the healthcare facility to visit.
  • Visitors who are symptomatic are not permitted to visit in the healthcare facility. Patients/clients who are symptomatic and have appointments should call ahead before arriving to the facility for additional guidance on whether to attend the appointment or re-schedule.
  • Visitors who are self-isolating should not be visiting in the healthcare facility. Persons self-isolating requesting to visit hospital facilities must contact the patient’s healthcare team to request an exemption and abide by all requirements of the exemption.
  • Family are encouraged to coordinate schedule and switchover of visitors.

Designated Visitors

Designated visitors are individuals identified by the patient as a needed support and who the patient wants involved in their health matters (e.g., family members, close friends, or informal/hired caregivers);

To ensure we continue to uphold the highest health and safety standards in our acute care facilities, all visitors will still be required to follow continuous masking guidelines and perform hand hygiene, maintain physical distancing and complete health screening upon entry to the facility.

Designated visitors may be provided a letter by a facility staff member that must be presented upon arrival. Doulas, lawyers for scheduled appointments with patients and social workers (e.g. child and family services) are not part of the designated visitors and an exemption is not required.

Responsibilities of designated visitors/support persons:

  • Minimize movement throughout the facility unless otherwise arranged with the patient’s healthcare team, and only if masking and physical distancing from non-household members can be maintained.
  • Are advised not to share food or beverages with the patient, or each other.
  • Are not permitted to visit other patients.

NTHSSA recognizes the significance and importance of Elders, Elders Helpers and Traditional Knowledge Keepers, and other pastoral care members.  If the patient/client requests, these individuals are welcome to visit at end-of-life provided they meet the criteria set out in this guidance.  These individuals do not count in the total number of designated visitors.

Long Term Care Visitation

  • Residents may identify up to six households of essential visitors
  • Maximum of 2 designated individual visitors or one household are allowed at one time.
  • Visit can occur either inside in the resident’s room or outside on facility property or common areas.

Acute Care Visitation

  • 4 designated visitors are allowed for inpatient (including the Obstetrics Unit) who may visit 2 at a time.
  • Children under 12 are allowed as designated visitors when accompanied and supervised by an adult.
  • Palliative care:
    • 10 designated visitors who may visit 2 at a time.
  • COVID-positive patients will be assessed on a case-by-case basis and require an exemption for visitation by Chief Operating Officer (COO) and/or Area Medical Director (AMD).
  • No gathering in the hallway, or reception area.
  • Cafeteria is not open to the public.
  • If you feel your patient or family situation requires an exemption to the current restrictions please speak to the unit supervisor or manager.
  • Please note - Some healthcare facilities are providing designated visitors with a letter granting them permission to visit.  These letters must be presented for each and every visit.

Outpatient Visitation

  • Adults: 1 support person, (this includes Obstetrics Assessment Unit and Emergency Department)
  • Children under 18: 2 support persons
  • Support persons must be willing to isolate if an exposure occurs.
  • 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.
  • Seniors and patients with mobility and/or cognitive challenges will be given priority to have their support person remain with them during these appointments.

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.