There’s no room at the inn.
The usual increase in volume at the RVH Emergency Room over Christmas has not subsided. Some of the activity has been due to respiratory illness, including influenza, and many of these patients have been sick enough to be admitted. As a result, every bed in the health centre is full with the occupancy rate over 120 per cent. Additional staff have been brought in and unfunded beds opened throughout the facility, including a “surge unit” to care for patients waiting for an inpatient bed to become available. No elective surgeries or out-patient clinics have had to be cancelled.
The increased volumes, and the ongoing challenge to place patients on inpatient units, means ER wait times are longer than usual. If your health condition is not urgent, patients should consider other options, including a visit to a family doctor, nurse practitioner or a walk-in clinic. If you are unsure if a trip to the ER is required, you can call Telehealth Ontario at 1-866-797-0007.
Patients with severe flu-like symptoms, or any other type of urgent condition, should go to the emergency department for care.
The Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit predicts influenza activity will peak in one to four weeks, so there is still time to get a flu shot, which will also protect against a potential second wave of flu that often comes between February and April.
The flu vaccine is available through most local pharmacies and healthcare providers. To find the nearest pharmacy giving the flu shot, visit the website www.ontario.ca/flu.
There are five walk-in clinics in Barrie. The Barrie Family Medicine Clinics are located at 125 Bell Farm Road, 555 Essa Road, 121 Wellington St. and 829 Big Bay Point Road. The hours of operation can be found online or by calling 705-726-1544. The Huronia Urgent Care Clinic is located at 480 Huronia Road and can be reached at 705-792-0933.