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Heads-up from CHEO on extra-long wait in Emergency Department
Feburary 26, 2014, OTTAWA – The Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO) is seeing an unusually high number of patients in its Emergency department and cautions the community to expect ‎extra long wait times, particularly in the evenings and early mornings.
We are currently seeing 15% more patients in Emergency than we normally see in peak season (our busiest time of the year), and 30% more than normal volumes.
CHEO is doing everything it can to help everyone who comes into Emergency and, as always, prioritizes so that the sickest patients can see a doctor more quickly.
While there is no one cause of the high volumes, February is the peak month for respiratory infections such as flu and respiratory syncytial virus.
CHEO is asking families who are bringing in a sick child to the emergency department to leave other siblings and extended family members at home. This helps to reduce the spread of viruses that are common in the community.
The high numbers of patients coming into CHEO include about 40% of patients whose conditions are low acuity. To help parents determine if their child’s symptoms are serious enough to visit emergency, the CHEO website has information on how to assess common conditions like fever or colds.
CHEO asks that families visit their pediatrician or family doctor, unless they are dealing with a true emergency. If a physician is unavailable, families can call or visit one of the following:
  • Telehealth Ontario: 1-866-797-0000
  • QuebecCLSC: 8-1-1, 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 1-866-996-0991 outside the city.
For further information, please contact:

Eva Schacherl
Communications Manager and Strategist
613-737-7600 x3536
613-769-5553 (cell.)  
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