Two hospitals in the region are ‘in tough’. Stevenson Memorial in Alliston dealing with a C. difficile outbreak. Five cases have been confirmed in the last month leading to enhanced hygiene practices – particulary in terms of hand washing. In some cases, gowns and gloves are necessary. C. difficile is a bacterium that many people carry in their bowel, posing little risk for healthy individuals. However, it can become a health issue for patients who are unwell, elderly, or otherwise health-comprised, particularly those on antibiotics which kill off the “good bacteria” in the bowel and allow C. difficile to flourish and cause infection. The most effective way to stop the spread of the disease is frequent and thorough hand-washing.
At Soldiers’ Memorial Hospital in Orillia, seasonal illnesses and falls on slippery surfaces have the ER busier than usual. Wait times could be longer as a result. While no one will ever be turned away, the ED should be just for emergencies. For non-urgent, less serious health concerns, your family doctor, nurse practitioner or the local walk-in or after-hours clinic can be a good resource. A full listing of non-urgent health services is available at www.nsmhealthline.ca.
If you are unsure of whether you should visit the ED, call Telehealth Ontario at 1-866-797-0000, where you have free telephone access to a Registered Nurse 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.