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'Nowhere else to go': ERs will remain crowded for months to come, emergency doctor predicts

File photo: Toronto Paramedics deliver patients to an emergency room.
File photo: Toronto Paramedics Transport patient to emergency room. Photo credit: CARLOS OSORIO /REUTERS

Emergency departments will almost certainly face another challenge this fall will continue to do — but emergency physicians speaking to a panel of the Ontario Medical Association on COVID Wednesday said patients wouldn't be the reason.

"There's a 99% chance that Ontario's emergency department will get worse. I'd like to say 100%, but I'd like to offer some hope," said an emergency physician and trauma team at St. Michael's Hospital in Toronto. said Dr. Andrew Petrosoniak, leader of

Emergency departments can still provide care to people in life-threatening situations. But as Ontario heads into the fall, Petrosoniak, who was a member of a panel talking about living with COVID, said he was concerned about patients who weren't so sick at first.

"It will be missed," he said. “It can happen in the waiting room because patients are waiting so long. Yes.It could be due to staffing issues or system inefficiencies.I don't know where it happens.I suspect it's happening now."

Petrosoniak said he usually sees only a handful of COVID patients on shifts. He worries about patients who need help and come to the emergency room because they don't have a doctor or other treatment options.

"These patients are in a condition that we have been managing for a long time, but the situation is deteriorating," he said.

There is also a need for timely access to outpatient mental health programs, he said.

"I see patients admitted to the emergency department because they have nowhere else to go." One Dr. Sloane Freeman said that family doctors and pediatricians are aware that many children are not receiving routine immunizations.

Some children are unimmunized or unvaccinated, which can lead to relapses of vaccine-preventable diseases, Freeman said. said Mr. New York, London, Jerusalem.

Coverage of school-based immunization programs is also low due to the collapse of the education system. Before the pandemic, Freeman said, as a child in seventh grade, he was 60-80% vaccinated.

"These rates were below her 20%," she said. "That's a real concern for the adolescent population. We really have to make sure they're caught up." is high, but this is not the case for children, she said. Only 40% of children aged 5 through her 11 years completed her recommended series of 2 doses. For children 12 years and older and her teens, only 20% had two doses and a booster as recommended.

In Ontario, meanwhile, the seventh wave of COVID is finally waning, says infectious disease expert Dr. Zane Chagra, another panel member. . This summer's unexpected wave introduced more immunity into the population than previous modeling had predicted, he said. not.

Data from Australia show that although Australia is often considered a predictor of the northern hemisphere flu season because it enters the season six months early, this year's flu wave is unusual.

Australia experienced a sharp rise in flu cases over four to six weeks in the fall. This quickly peaked and then declined rapidly. But what was missing from the Australian flu season was the emergence of influenza type B. This is a form of influenza that usually occurs in Canada after December and lasts until early spring.

"What's really interesting to see around the world is that influenza B hasn't returned after the pandemic," said Chagla.

What does this mean for Ontario? But as global travel resumes, flu season will return to the table, highlighting the need to get a flu shot, he said. Keeping away is still important.

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