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Quinte Health’s remarkable frontline teams are facing respiratory season head-on this New Year’s weekend, caring for an extremely high number of patients, both admitted patients and in our Emergency Departments at all four hospitals.  This is significantly impacting wait times in our Emergency Departments (EDs).

With COVID-19, influenza (flu) and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) circulating at the same time as common cold and cough viruses, we are experiencing a high number of respiratory illnesses.  Certain members of our community, such as older adults, pregnant individuals, young children, and those with compromised immune systems, face a higher risk of experiencing severe illness, complications, and hospitalizations. Forty admitted patients at Quinte Health hospitals have COVID, including 6 in the Intensive Care Unit. 

We hope community members will consider the following:

  • If you’ve not already done so, please consider getting an updated COVID vaccine and the flu shot. 
  • Help minimize the transmission of respiratory illnesses by staying home when unwell, frequent handwashing, and consistently cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched surfaces. 
  • If your health concern isn’t an emergency, please consider one of the alternative health care options, such as the East Region Virtual Care Clinic, listed on the ‘Know where to go’ section of our website.  

If you do decide to come to a Quinte Health ED for a non-urgent issue, we recognize that it can be frustrating to wait for extended periods of time in the ED when you are feeling unwell.  Patients are prioritized in the emergency department based on the seriousness of their condition, not the order of when they arrived in the department.  Every patient coming into an emergency department starts receiving care the moment they meet the triage nurse. The triage nurse is specialty trained to conduct that important first assessment to see how critical the patient’s condition is. It’s that “triage” assessment that determines the order patients are seen within the department.

We ask for everyone’s patience, support and respect for our teams.