Know your health care options: Navigating COVID, Cold and Flu

(WHGH) – Tuesday, December 20, 2022 –  West Haldimand General Hospital (WHGH), like all hospitals in Ontario, continues to be under immense strain. The amount and severity of viral illness is heavier than normal and we’re seeing both kids and adults with serious flu, pneumonia, COVID-19, and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) infections.

“Emergency Departments across the province are under more stress than many of us have witnessed in our healthcare careers,” said AnneMarie VanSickle, Clinical Director of the WHGH Emergency Department. “WHGH is seeing a surge in adult and pediatric patients accessing emergency care during a time when staffing resources are already stretched to the limit. One of our biggest concerns is the severity of illness we are seeing in people of all ages. There are higher than normal adult patients requiring admission. Our Inpatient Unit is over capacity; therefore, admitted patients remain in the emergency department for extensive periods of time. These are just some of the key drivers for longer wait times in the emergency department.” 

West Haldimand General Hospital and our valued healthcare partners are working together to help the public in navigating respiratory illnesses while avoiding unnecessary visits to the emergency department.

We encourage everyone to know all of their health-care options:

Call your family doctor to discuss symptoms to determine if you need to visit your doctor or the emergency department.

Use Health Connect Ontario

  • has a symptom checker and the option to chat live with a nurse.
  • Call 811 to speak with a nurse, available 24 hours a day.

Book an appointment at a COVID, Cold and Flu Care Clinic.

  • COVID, Cold and Flu Care Clinics (CCFCCs) are for patients with moderate or worsening respiratory symptoms, or patients directed by their health-care provider to visit for care.
  • These clinics offer access to assessment, testing and treatment without going to an emergency department. If you can’t be seen by a family doctor, these clinics are a great option.
  • West Haldimand General Hospital: 905-768-3311 ext. 1113
  • Norfolk Family Health Team: 519-582-2323 ext. 232.
  • Haldimand War Memorial Hospital: 905-774-7431 ext. 1000

Visit a local pharmacist if you require a prescription refill

The above actions for navigating respiratory illnesses do not replace your other touch points with your health-care provider. In a medical emergency, call 911 immediately.

Emergency Departments are always available for emergencies, and if you are experiencing a medical emergency, please visit your nearest Emergency Department or call 911.

Patients with the most critical health care needs will continue to be prioritized.

If you need to visit an Emergency Department, please bring your health card and all your medications. WHGH is anticipating wait times over the holidays will be longer than usual.

Our staff and physicians are working extremely hard to manage the health and safety of patients with limited resources, so please be kind and understanding.

Let’s work together to stop the flu:

The best way to reduce seasonal influenza is to receive the flu vaccine.

The 2022 universal flu vaccine is now available and it’s free. Contact your local pharmacy or primary care provider to schedule your appointment today. Find out more, here:

The flu vaccine helps protect residents who are at high risk for complications if infected with the flu. Receiving the vaccine will limit the spread of seasonal influenza and protect vulnerable populations.

WHGH is grateful to everyone for their patience and understanding as we try to meet the needs of all patients.

To learn more about WHGH’s emergency department and how patients are prioritized, please click here