Emergency Department Update

Emergency Department
Emergency Department entrance at Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre.

The Emergency Department (ED) at Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre (TBRHSC) continues to experience high volumes of patients. There is a high demand for hospital services and we are seeing higher acuity patients. As patients are seen based on an assessment of individual illness, this will likely mean longer than normal wait times for less severe illness. Calling an ambulance will not necessarily get you faster attention once you are at the hospital.

As you know, there are shortages of health human resources both provincially and regionally. This, coupled with staff being in isolation due to COVID-19, or off due to illness, means there is a higher than usual number of workers off, putting more pressure on the staff that are working. Please be courteous and remember that our team is here to help.

Unless a person is experiencing a medical emergency, the following resources should be considered before visiting an emergency department:

  • A Family Doctor or Nurse Practitioner, for health concerns that are not it urgent need of treatment
  • If you think you have COVID-19 but are not experiencing symptoms or have mild symptoms (similar to a cold or flu), the ED is not a COVID-19 Testing Centre, and coming in risks exposing vulnerable people to the coronavirus. Testing at the COVID-19 Assessment Centre is by appointment only – no walk-ins. If you meet the eligibility criteria listed on our website (https://tb.covidresponse.ca/), you may book an appointment online. If you need assistance booking, please call (807) 935-8100. If you have mild COVID-19 symptoms, you may wish to call your primary care provider.
  • Health Connect Ontario (1-866-797-0007) for advice on managing mild COVID-19 symptoms and other mild health care concerns and symptoms that would avoid unnecessary visits to the ED.

As a reminder, if you do need to visit the ED then we ask that our patients and families be mindful of the increased volumes, and be courteous to staff as we work to address your care needs as quickly as possible. We appreciate your support as we work through this busy time.