Yellowknife's health services returning to same levels as before school closures

·2 min read
Health services in Yellowknife will return to the same levels they were prior to the school closings on Tuesday, but with more virtual care and the possibility of cancellations.  (Liny Lamberink/CBC - image credit)
Health services in Yellowknife will return to the same levels they were prior to the school closings on Tuesday, but with more virtual care and the possibility of cancellations. (Liny Lamberink/CBC - image credit)

Health services in Yellowknife will return to the same levels they were at prior to schools closing Tuesday until at least Sept. 24, except for home care, according to the territory's health authority.

In a Wednesday afternoon news release, the Northwest Territories Health and Social Services Authority (NTHSSA) said it made the decision after it was able to assess the impact of the school closure on its staff.

In an email to media, a spokesperson wrote that generally, services are not cancelled but that where appropriate, they will be moved to virtual care, and are being reduced in some areas.

"Urgent and emergent care remains available," wrote the spokesperson.

Home care service will be reduced and patient care will be "prioritized and triaged as appropriate," reads a news release. It also stated that home care staff will contact patients to discuss any changes to appointments or services.

The authority said Yellowknifers should know the following:

  • Urgent appointments will continue. If you have an issue that is serious or worsening and you require an appointment please go ahead and book in the appropriate place.

  • Primary care clinics should continue to be the first call for acute care needs that do not require emergency services. All cancellations for all appointment types will be tracked and added to a call-back list.

  • If you have an upcoming appointment you will be contacted if it is cancelled or delayed. Otherwise, assume that your appointment will go forward. Anyone facing cancellations or postponements will be contacted directly.

  • New routine or non-urgent appointments will not be booked, but added to the call-back list.

It added that most appointments in primary care will move to virtual care, and that there will be cancellations and delays of non-urgent procedures.

The authority also provided the following information about primary care:

  • Pap and other routine "complete physicals" continue to be cancelled.

  • Pre-natal appointments will change to a reduced schedule, every second appointment will occur virtually by phone.

  • Chronic disease management and mental health appointments will be shifted to virtual or deferred if appropriate.

  • The Diabetes Education Program and Opioid Maintenance Treatment Program appointments will be changed to virtual where appropriate.

  • Most Worker's Compensation and other work related appointments will continue.

Public health

The news release also stated the Yellowknife Public Health will be operating on reduced service until further notice.

It said appointments related to urgent adult and child immunizations, testing for sexually transmitted infections, the TB program and newborn vaccinations will continue to be available.

Week 2 and week 6 well baby checks will continue; other well-child checks may be deferred unless specific concerns are raised.

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting