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Open during curfew: Montreal pediatric hospitals urge parents not to wait to seek emergency care

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Dr. Laurie Plotnick, medical director of the emergency department at the Montreal Children’s Hospital, says parents shouldn't be afraid to seek treatment at the ER, even during curfew – Jan 14, 2021

Officials at Montreal’s pediatric hospitals are urging parents not to hesitate to bring their children to the ER if they’re in need of an emergency medical consultation, even if it’s between the hours of 8 p.m. and 5 a.m — when Quebec’s COVID-19 curfew is in effect.

“We want to avoid having families wait too long before coming in with urgent health issues,” said Dr. Antonio D’Angelo, head of emergency services at the CHU Sainte-Justine hospital, in a written statement.

Read more: Quebec imposes curfew, tightens lockdown restrictions as coronavirus health crisis deepens

D’Angelo explained that time is of the essence in children’s health care.

“With children, especially very young children, their condition can deteriorate very quickly. Sometimes just a few hours can make all the difference,” he said.

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Dr. Laurie Plotnick, medical director of the emergency department at the Montreal Children’s Hospital, told Global News said they’ve been seeing less patient volume since the start of the pandemic.

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“This is something that’s been seen globally with pediatric emergency departments,” she said.

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Plotnick believes some parents are hesitant to go the hospital because of COVID-19.

“We want to reassure the public that we are taking infection-control precautions,” she said. “We are safe in our emergency department.”

The message from Sainte-Justine hospital was the same.

“Our care team is ready to meet needs while upholding all the public health rules,” D’Angelo said.

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Families who visit the either hospital will be given a certificate allowing them to be outside during curfew.

“We want to make sure that we explicitly tell the public that they will not be fined for coming to the emergency department even during curfew,” Plotnick said.

The month-long curfew was put in place on Jan. 8 in a bid to curb the spread of COVID-19 through community transmission.

Fines for breaking curfew rules range between $1,000 and $6,000.