Patient volumes at Health Sciences Centre’s (HSC) children’s emergency department in Winnipeg are no longer at “unprecedented levels”, but remain “elevated,” according to Shared Health.
Last weekend the children’s ER reported a concerning rise patient volume, with 201 visits on Sunday alone. Shared Health said Sunday’s numbers were the highest single-day patient count the department has seen “in at least several years.”
On Friday a Shared Health spokesperson said the department saw 152 patient visits Thursday, of which 15 were admitted to inpatient units.
The spokesperson said the hospital’s pediatric ICU had nine patients as of Friday morning, adding the unit’s pre-pandemic baseline capacity is nine staffed beds.
They said the hospital’s neonatal ICU (NICU) was caring for 52 patients Friday morning, slightly above the normal baseline capacity of 50.
The patients reported in the NICU Friday morning included six infants with respiratory illness who were being isolated from others, Shared Health said.
So far in November the children’s ER at HSC is averaging 172.4 patients per day, according to Shared Health data.
That’s up from a daily average reported last month of 145.8 patients per day and ahead of a record pace set in December 2019, when the average of patient visits to the ED were 170.3 per day.
The daily average at the children’s ER in November 2021 was 124 patients.
Shared Health has said the ER is seeing kids testing positive for a “variety of respiratory viruses” including bronchiolitis caused by RSV, influenza A, and COVID-19.
The spokesperson said the hospital is doing what it can to staff the children’s ER during the surge in visits.
“As with other hospital units, staff call-outs to work additional shifts, overtime and mandating are all options used to ensure appropriate care continues to be provided to patients. Managers are also assisting,” they said in an email to Global News Friday.
On Wednesday Doctors Manitoba warned what’s expected to be a brutal flu season has doctors worried about hospitals being overwhelmed.
The organization called on Manitobans to get their flu shot and COVID-19 booster, wash their hands, stay at home when ill, and mask up.
— with files from Keesha Harewood and Richard Cloutier