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CHEO Seeing Unexpected Volumes in Emergency; Seeks Community’s Help to Reduce Wait Times

OTTAWA – The Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO) is currently seeing a significant increase in patients in its Emergency department compared to the same two-week period in previous years.

“The Emergency department is unusually busy for this time of year,” said Ken Farion, CHEO’s acting Medical director, Emergency. “While a small part of the increase can be attributed to children coming in with flu-like symptoms, there is a significant overall increase in volumes. This increase, combined with a very high inpatient occupancy rate, is resulting in extra pressures on the Emergency department, and therefore, an increase in wait times.”

“CHEO will always make sure that kids who urgently need our help will get our help. But it’s important, that parents prepare for the flu season by educating themselves on ways to stay healthy, ways to manage minor illness and injury at home, knowing when they should see a doctor and when they should visit the Emergency department," said Farion.

You should take your child or youth to the emergency department if they have:

  • Difficulty breathing (for example: breathing faster than normal; look paler than usual or have whitish or bluish lips; are coughing excessively, choking or breathing irregularly).
  • An injury where it is suspected that a bone may be broken or stitches required.
  • Vomiting following an injury.
  • A fever over 38° C or 100.4° F and are under three months of age.
  • A fever and is difficult to wake up or is very sleepy.
  • A rash that does not turn white when you push on it.
  • Diarrhea, vomiting and have no tears, a very dry mouth, and have not urinated at least two to three times over the last 24 hours.

CHEO asks that families visit their pediatrician or family doctor, unless they are dealing with a true emergency, as described above. If there is no community physician, or the physician is unavailable, families can call or visit one of the following:

  • Telehealth Ontario: 1-866-797-0000
  • Quebec CLSC: 819 -770-6900, during the daytime. After hours listen to the recording for directions, which give a telephone number to call in the Outaouais region;
  • Your local Community Health Centre or a Family Medical Center: Can assist with minor emergencies such as stitches and casts. See telephone listing for “clinics” the yellow pages or
  • Mental Health Crisis Line: 613-722-6914 in Ottawa or 1-866-281-2911 outside the city
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