Aspen isolation centre closes, to be replaced by hotels

Yellowknife residents without homes who need to isolate will now do so at hotels after the territorial government announced the Aspen isolation centre will close.

Aspen Apartments, on the city’s 51 Street, has served as temporary housing in which people experiencing homelessness could isolate – for example, if awaiting the results of a Covid-19 test or after testing positive – since the onset of the pandemic a year ago.

On Thursday, the NWT’s health authority said Aspen was currently not housing anyone and occupancy had only been “intermittent,” with 15 people using the apartments since the start of this year.


“Aspen served its purpose well,” said Sue Cullen, the health authority’s chief executive, in a news release. “However, transitioning to support through the [hotel-based] isolation centres will allow for the best use of health and social services system resources and reduce duplication of services and effort.

“Continued supports for homeless individuals are important and we will continue to support these individuals in their isolation needs.”

The territory said almost anyone experiencing homelessness who was told to isolate would have received a rapid test for Covid-19, in most cases meaning a stay at Aspen of only a night or two before receiving a negative result.

“Aspen staff will help ensure a smooth transition so that clients have the supports they need to successfully isolate at the isolation centres,” Thursday’s news release stated.