North Bay emergency department manager says patient traffic is slowing down

The manager of the emergency department at the North Bay Regional Health Centre wants people to know that if people are experiencing life-threatening symptoms, they need to go to the nearest hospital emergency room.

Joan Brazeau says the usual numbers of people that flow through their emergency department have dropped.

“People are not as active in doing all the things that we do in a normal day. Lifestyles have changed. So those type of visits are not occurring as often. We are seeing anywhere between 70 to 100 [patients] a day.”

They normally have about 155 visits a day .

Normally we run full tilt, seven days-a-week, 24 hours-a-day,” she said. “However we’re still open for business and are fully staffed.”

Brazeau said she believes the number of visits to emergency are down due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Those who do come in speak about being “just a little bit fearful.”

“But once they arrive to the department they’re very pleased with the services that are provided to them and how the emergency department is working, in terms of their safety.”

Brazeau added that she wants to ensure that people are getting the message that they are open to “business as usual, 24 hours a day.”

Meanwhile, testing for COVID-19 has increased in the North Bay Parry Sound District Health Unit’s (Health Unit) region.

The health unit is reporting the number of residents who were tested for COVID-19 — between April 13 and 19 — more than doubled from the seven days previous.

It’s a change in the right direction, said Dr. Chirico, medical officer of health of the North Bay Parry Sound District Health Unit.

“Due to a global supply shortage and initial laboratory testing capacity issues, the province was unable to test as frequently as we would have liked. Now that supplies are available, the increased testing will help determine how prevalent COVID-19 is in our region.”

Individuals who suspect they may have COVID-19 are still to call their healthcare provider, Telehealth or the Health Unit before they are referred to an assessment and testing centre, the health unit said.

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