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Surge in pediatric visits means surgery delays at Guelph General

Some surgeries have been delayed to make room for pediatric patients, says hospital CEO
20160202 Guelph General Hospital Sign KA
Sign outside the Guelph General Hospital.

Guelph General Hospital is seeing a spike in both pediatric visits and admissions.

From Nov. 1 to 17 of this year the emergency department at GGH had 793 pediatric visits and 62 of those were inpatient admissions.

The same time last year GGH had 508 emergency department pediatric visits and 43 were inpatient admissions.

The hospital is responding to the spike, caused in part by the rise in respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) among young children.

“During the past month we are seeing more patients with a respiratory illness such as COVID, influenza and children with RSV,” said a report in this week's hospital board meeting agenda. 

“RSV may present as a common cold for adults; however, for some children it can present with a severe respiratory illness.”

Some surgeries have been delayed in order to make room for pediatric patients, said Marianne Walker, president and CEO of GGH.

At a time where children are facing RSV, COVID and influenza, masking, distancing, hand hygiene and getting vaccinated are all things people can do in order to prevent infection, she said.

“With the increase in the numbers, and not just in the Guelph-Wellington area, but in our region, and also in the province, the numbers have gone up,” said Walker.

The hospital is working with Ontario Health and the province to deal with the provincial pediatric surge, she said.

“Also looking at our intensive care unit, and preparing them, so that for the older patients, you know, above 14, certain weight criteria, that they may accept those patients, still giving that excellent care that the children need,” said Walker.

“And, you know, the, what's interesting about this year, is usually we have a slowdown in the summer, and we didn't have that this year, that it wasn't as there weren't as many children as we have right now,” she said.

Walker said parents should contact their primary care physician for their children if it isn’t an emergency.