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Stanton Hospital facing oxygen supply issues

A surge in COVID-19 hospitalizations is leaving Stanton Territorial Hospital struggling to meet the demand for oxygen supply.

The Health and Social Services Authority said in a statement that because of the high number of patients, the hospital’s infrastructure is struggling to distribute oxygen to multiple locations at once.

The total number of hospitalizations connected to the current outbreak is now at 23, with 11 people being admitted to the intensive care unit (ICU). The Office of the Chief Public Health Officer says 78 percent of those hospitalized were not fully vaccinated.

The number of cases continues to rise, 238 active cases among residents in the territory. 141 of those are in Yellowknife.

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“It is important to note that we are still able to care for patients who need acute care services, whether related to COVID-19, or otherwise,” David Maguire said in an email. 

“This notice is being provided as a precaution to let residents know there may be further impacts should case counts increase and in turn put demands on our acute care services and as a reminder to residents to follow public health guidance, and to get vaccinated, to prevent hospitalizations in the first place.”

A spokesperson for NTHSSA added that the COVID-19 patients at Stanton are using high-flow oxygen devices which are less invasive than ventilators, but use four times the oxygen.

Some patients had to be moved from the intensive care unit to another area of the hospital, while surgeries were cancelled for September 21.

Surgeries are running again on September 22.

NTHSSA says they have also been working with Alberta Health Services to seek advice, and the Department of Infrastructure and a clinical team is working on strategies to deal with the issue.

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