Don’t come to emergency wards looking for COVID-19 test kits, says Niagara Health

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Published December 31, 2021 at 10:27 am

Much like those people who don’t understand they shouldn’t call 9-1-1 because McDonald’s short-changed them on chicken nugget sauce or their neighbour’s dog barked at them, Niagara Health is now in the unfortunate position of having to ask residents to only come to the region hospital emergency wards if it’s an actual medical emergency.

That means if residents are looking for a COVID-19 test kit, they shouldn’t show up at the emergency ward just because Shopper’s Drug Mart sold out.

“Niagara Health is seeing a high number of patients in our Emergency Departments (ED) who do not need this level of healthcare and could access the right level of care through their family physician or other primary care provider,” the health unit said.

More to the point, Niagara Health added, “A significant number of these people are seeking a COVID-19 test and have mild or no symptoms. In these cases, people should stay home and rest while self-isolating to limit the spread of this highly contagious virus. Patients should reach out to their primary care provider for help managing symptoms at home, if needed.”

Dr. Johan Viljoen, Niagara Health’s Chief of Staff and Executive Vice President of Medical Affairs, took it a step further, explaining the actual purpose of emergency wards.

“The ED (emergency department) is the busiest area of the hospital,” said Viljoen. “All hospitals in Canada assess patients using the same national standard to ensure the sickest patients are always seen first, even if they arrive after other patients. If you visit the ED for a minor illness or injury, please expect to wait.”

Niagara Health suggests if residents are simply seeking COVID-19 testing kits, they go to the  http://Niagara Region Public Health website  to find options.

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