Appointments and surgeries in Yellowknife that aren’t urgent will be delayed or cancelled, the NWT’s health authority said in a statement on Friday evening.
The health authority said the reduction in services was a result of prioritizing the NWT’s response to the ongoing Omicron-variant outbreak, which has seen the territory record nearly 800 new Covid-19 cases in the past month.
Non-urgent surgeries and endoscopies are being cancelled or delayed “to facilitate staffing of essential areas,” the authority said.
Yellowknife’s Stanton Territorial Hospital is already deep in a months-long staffing crisis that briefly saw three units merged over the Christmas period.
“Any individual who has a procedure or appointment that is impacted will be contacted directly. Urgent and emergency surgical and endoscopy services will continue,” the authority stated.
Friday’s announcement demonstrated that even without any Omicron-variant hospitalizations reported to date, the scale of the current outbreak had the ability to affect the healthcare system as the territory diverts resources.
Primary care and public health appointments in the city will be pushed back or scrapped if they aren’t urgent, the authority said. They could also take place virtually “where appropriate.”
“Any individual who has a procedure or appointment that is impacted will be contacted directly,” the authority’s statement read. “Urgent appointments will continue. If you have an issue that is serious or worsening and you require an appointment, please book in the appropriate place.”
Most mental health services will be moved to virtual care and clients are being contacted.
The health authority said further cuts to services may yet occur if the situation changes.