Emergency departments open as usual

Things are relatively quiet in the emergency departments of the Manitoulin Health Centre, but both locations are, and have been, open throughout the pandemic, albeit with careful protocols in place. photos by Michael Erskine

COVID-19 hasn’t interrupted this vital service

MANITOULIN – Reports from members of the public that they have been told that the emergency departments at the Manitoulin Health Centre are closed has led to some confusion about the ability to access care in a medical emergency. To be clear, according to the MHC administration the emergency departments at both Little Current and Mindemoya are most emphatically open.

The reports point to the wording of an automated message they received from the hospital’s switchboard they said seemed to suggest the emergency departments were closed.

“There is no question at all,” said MHC CEO and president Lynn Foster. “The emergency departments at both the Little Current and the Mindemoya sites are open 24/7.”

Ms. Foster noted that there has been a significant drop in cases presenting at the emergency departments but went on to point out that phenomena are not limited to the Island and not necessarily due to the message they have received when calling the hospital. Visits to emergency rooms across the province are down significantly since the COVID-19 virus first made an appearance in Ontario.

“A number of communities are seeing reductions (in emergency department visits),” confirmed Ms. Foster. “That may be because of some community members who hold back because of the COVID-19 virus, or maybe that folks are reluctant to go out in the community or to a facility where they are likely to come in contact with people who are ill.”

The confusion may have come about from people being asked to call into the hospital if they are exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19. For that there are two assessment centres set up on Manitoulin, one in Little Current open on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 2 to 5 pm and Monday, Wednesday and Friday in Mindemoya.

The emergency departments at both hospital locations are open and ready for business.

“Our doors are open,” said Ms. Foster. “They always have been. There are safety measures in place to ensure the safety of other patients and staff, but the door to the emergency department is not locked.”

So, if a person thinks they may have a broken limb and show no symptoms of the virus, they should just go to emerg they way they always have? “Absolutely,” said Ms. Foster. 

The doctor in emergency will not only see you now, they would have seen you all along, social media rumours not withstanding.