The North Bay Regional Health Centre (NBRHC), similar to other hospitals in the province, has been experiencing a peak in activity with patients presenting with a variety of illnesses, including respiratory illnesses and influenza.
NBRHC Manager of Infection Control, Mark Daniw says an increased volume of patients in hospital Emergency Departments (ED) is known as a ‘surge’ and is caused by high demand and activity due to a number of factors, including an increase in illnesses circulating in our community.
“As we generally care for patients with very complex needs, we have been managing a surge of very ill patients at our hospital including our Emergency Department,” Daniw says. “When we have increased visits of sick patients to our Emergency Department, that results in an increased volume of admitted patients throughout the hospital—impacting other departments like our Critical Care Unit and other inpatient areas.”
The Health Centre wants to help ensure our community and patients are protected, and that individuals seek medical attention if appropriate. “Emergency Department visits and influenza activity is monitored, and if it is determined that flu activity is elevated and our patients are at a potential risk of acquiring influenza, NBRHC declares a high risk influenza status,” Daniw says. “This is a proactive measure to help protect our patients.” As we have been experiencing admissions of patients with influenza, this status was declared at the Health Centre on March 17th.
“High Risk Influenza Status at our hospital means that along with influenza vaccination, our staff also follow heightened infection control measures—such as hand washing and effective use of personal protection equipment (PPE),” Daniw explains. “We also recommend visitors consider postponing their visits if they are feeling unwell.” All of these measures are the cornerstone of preventing the spread of any infection from person to person.
As the Emergency Department is currently seeing a surge, including respiratory illness related visits, please familiarize yourself with the options available for non-urgent care like Telehealth Ontario or walk-in clinic availability which can save you an unnecessary visit and wait at the Emergency Department.
Lindsay Smylie Smith
North Bay Regional Health Centre
705.474.8600 x 7592