Stanton Territorial Hospital in September 2022. Ollie Williams/Cabin Radio
The NWT’s health authority says more services will become available in Yellowknife starting on Monday, September 11.
The Northwest Territories Health and Social Services Authority, or NTHSSA, previously warned Yellowknife residents to expect limited services when they first return home.
Stanton Territorial Hospital’s intensive care unit, routine obstetrical services, chemotherapy, dialysis, IV therapy, pediatric admissions, and surgical services beyond emergencies were not expected to be available right away. Several community services, such as primary care walk-in appointments, were also expected to be limited, the authority said prior to the city’s evacuation order being lifted.
In an update on Friday, the health authority said chemotherapy and IV therapy will return to service during the week of September 11, allowing individuals who require these services and who could not return immediately to make plans to travel home. Residents requiring these services are being contacted directly, according to NTHSSA.
The health authority announced the following other updates as of Monday:
Starting on September 11, residents who are currently evacuated and have a scheduled medical travel appointment outside the NWT during the week of September 11-15 should contact the clinic where their appointment referral originated to confirm their appointment, review evacuee supports and initiate medical travel benefits.
Bookings for outpatient services will resume during the week of September 11. Appointments will be rescheduled based on the availability of external support, such as boarding homes and flights, and system capacity. Medical travel into Yellowknife for outpatient appointments will likely resume later in the week of September 11.
The sobering centre and day shelter are at full capacity, with a quicker return to full services than initially anticipated.
Public health and home care are back to full capacity.
Primary care services will increase, but continue to operate at a reduced capacity. Same-day access and rescheduled appointments will be available at both clinic locations from 8:30am to 4pm.
Several services are still limited or unavailable. For instance, Stanton Territorial Hospital’s obstetrics unit continues to operate only in an emergency capacity. NTHSSA continues to recommend that people who are 33 weeks pregnant or beyond do not yet return to Yellowknife.
A full list of services, along with estimated capacities can be found on the health authority’s website. The authority warned that service levels are expected to change often, and recommends checking on service levels regularly.
In addition, NTHSSA said surgical face masks may be temporarily required in clinical facilities as services return.
“It is expected that respiratory viruses will be on the increase heading into fall,” the authority said. With residents returning from southern locations, the authority said masking may help to preserve healthcare capacity in the coming weeks.
Return of Hay River services could take a month
On Friday, the Hay River Health and Social Services Authority also released a broad overview of the availability of health services residents can expect once they are allowed to return home.
The town unveiled a re-entry plan on Friday that outlines how residents can expect to return home when the wildfire threat ends, although dates have yet to be assigned to each step of the plan.
In a Facebook post, the town’s health authority said residents should expect limited health and social services at the time of re-entry.
“Reinstating services will take time, with a focus initially on life-sustaining services,” the authority said, adding that fully resuming and stabilizing services could take up to a month.
“Our goal will be to return to pre-evacuation service levels as quickly and as safely as we are able,” the authority said.