HALIFAX -- The IWK Health Centre in Halifax is suspending all non-urgent services as of Wednesday amid COVID-19 concerns.

Dr. Krista Jangaard, the president and CEO of the Halifax children's hospital, made the announcement Tuesday.

“The health and safety of our patients, families and clinical teams is of the utmost importance as we work to respond to increased demands on our services as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Dr. Jangaard. “Decisions to alter non-urgent services are not taken lightly; however at this time, it is the right thing to do.”

Children and women’s health services

For the IWK’s pediatric and women’s health population:

  • All outpatient, ambulatory clinic appointments and community visits will be limited to urgent care visits only. This includes mobile clinics in other parts of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, PEI and Newfoundland & Labrador.
  • All elective surgeries will be cancelled and rescheduled to a later date. Surgical procedures will be limited to urgent and emergent cases only.
  • The IWK emergency department will remain open.

Mental health and addictions services

For IWK Mental Health and Addictions:

  • All group-based interventions will be suspended.
  • Face-to-face contact will be limited, with the program moving primarily to a virtual platform to ensure continued services for patients and families.
  • All urgent care and emergent mental health and addiction services will continue.


Jangaard also noted that patients and families scheduled for elective surgeries or have clinic appointments will be contacted by the Health Centre to discuss rescheduling their procedures.

Other considerations

In addition to suspending non-urgent services, the IWK has implemented other measures to reduce traffic within the Health Centre including, but not limited to:

  • A strict limit of two visitors per pediatric patient and one visitor for all other patient populations
  • Suspension of volunteer services
  • Cancellation of all public events