PEMBROKE – As Renfrew County hospitals gradually and safely return to pre-COVID service levels, residents are reminded that, while emergency departments are open and ready to deal with urgent health care needs, there are alternative care options for minor medical issues, COVID testing and other circumstances better suited to primary care providers.
“Many of the region’s family physician and nurse practitioner offices continue to see patients either in person or virtually, so it’s important in a non-urgent situation for residents to first connect with their primary care giver, if they have one, as a first course of action,” said Dr. Tom Hurley, Chief of Staff at the Pembroke Regional Hospital.
Those residents who don’t have a family physician or those whose primary care giver cannot be reached, are encouraged to contact the Renfrew County Virtual Triage and Assessment Centre by calling 1-844-727-6404 or visiting www.rcvtac.ca for more information.
The RCVTAC is accessible 24/7 for residents who have non-life-threatening health issues, and is covered by OHIP with a valid health card, Dr. Hurley said.
Some examples of issues that can be addressed by contacting the Virtual Triage and Assessment Centre include:
• COVID-19 testing
• Minor burns or injuries
• Coughs, colds and sore throats
• Fever or flu-like symptoms
• Mild asthma
• Investigation of chronic problems
• Sprains and strains
• Ear infections
• Skin irritations (rashes)
• Prescription renewals
Dr. Hurley said that the Pembroke Regional Hospital’s Emergency Department is currently operating at approximately 75% of its pre-COVID service levels, with an average of 60-80 patients per day. He notes that many of those coming to the Emergency Department are arriving with symptoms and conditions that are falling into the more serious classifications.
“Time is of the essence when treating many serious medical conditions so now is not the time to ignore symptoms or hesitate if you feel it’s an emergency. A delay in seeking care could have a lasting impact on your outcome, with patients potentially suffering serious complications if they don’t seek timely care,” said Dr. Tatiana Jilkina, Chief of Emergency at PRH.