Quinte emergency departments experiencing ‘significant wait times’

Belleville General Hospital – Photo via Quinte Health

Quinte Health has issued a notice to residents alerting them to significant emergency department wait times, urging patience and discretion in terms of health care options.

As the weekend approaches, the Quinte Health Emergency Departments are facing longer than average wait times due to a surge in patient numbers across all four hospitals compounded by staffing constraints.

“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,” says a media release from Quinte Health.  

Emphasizing the prioritization of critical cases, healthcare teams are directing immediate attention to the most severely ill patients. As a result, those without imminent, life-threatening conditions may experience prolonged waiting periods. To alleviate the discomfort during these waits, patients are advised to bring reading material or electronic devices.

“We understand that patients waiting can feel terrible and uncomfortable, but in the hospital setting, we must care for the most timely and grave health issues first,” the release says. “We ask for everyone’s patience at this time and for your continued support and respect for our teams.”

Acknowledging the distress patients may feel while waiting, hospital officials highlight the necessity to prioritize urgent cases based on their severity. They appeal for understanding and patience from the public while expressing gratitude for continued support and respect towards healthcare staff.

The situation is further complicated by the concurrent circulation of COVID-19, influenza (flu), respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), common cold viruses, and cough viruses. This influx has led to a significant rise in respiratory ailments.

“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,” says Quinte Health. “Help minimize the transmission of respiratory illnesses by staying home when unwell, frequent handwashing, and consistently cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched surfaces.”

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