Yellowknife hospital emergency at 60 per cent

A recent update from NTHSSA said residents should expect ‘longer than normal’ emergency transport times. (Sara Minogue/CBC)

Despite a pause on the return of essential workers to Yellowknife last week as wildfires flared up in the South Slave, Mayor Rebecca Alty said Tuesday health care staff continued their journey home to the city.

Alty previously gave a five-day estimate as the amount of time between when essential staff would return and when the city would open to all residents.

Still, the plan remains to lift Yellowknife’s evacuation order at noon on Wednesday.

“Health care was the one that was going to take the longest, with municipal and businesses taking a little bit less time,” said Alty.

As with most services in the city, health care will be significantly limited and won’t be back to full service for an estimated month after the return.

Majority of services closed, or minimal

The Northwest Territories Health and Social Services Authority issued an update Tuesday morning for what service levels will be like through to Wednesday.

The vast majority of services remain closed or at minimal capacity.

Otherwise, Stanton Territorial Hospital’s emergency department is operating at 60 per cent and 10 of the hospital’s 25 inpatient acute care beds are open.

“Expect longer than normal transport times territory-wide,” reads the update.

Residents with scheduled medical travel appointments in Edmonton prior to Sept. 11 are also asked to not return to Yellowknife.

“If your appointment is not already confirmed, please reach out to Yellowknife primary care at (867) 767-9294 (response times may be delayed) to confirm your appointment and review evacuee supports and/or initiate medical travel benefits,” states the update.

NTHSSA said it would be issuing regular updates on service levels until they return to normal.

It has previously stated this could take up to a month once the evacuation order lifts.

Related stories from around the North: 

Canada: How a northern Canadian town went from 1 doctor to 11, in just 6 years, CBC News

Finland: Doctor shortage in South, patient shortage in North during Finland’s summer, YLE News

Sweden: Giving birth in a car: a real rural problem in Sweden, Radio Sweden

United States: Alarming number of patients at Alaskan psychiatric emergency room, Alaska Public Media

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