Emergency Department volumes up, wait times longer as hospital experiences ongoing staff shortages due to COVID-19

(Peterborough, ON) – With a record-high number of inpatients with COVID-19, extremely high patient volumes in the Emergency Department (ED) and ongoing staff shortages due to COVID-19, Peterborough Regional Heath Centre (PRHC) is asking community members to consider their alternative options before seeking care at the hospital.

“PRHC, like hospitals across Ontario, is very much still in the midst of the pandemic,” said Dr. Lynn Mikula, EVP, Chief of Staff and Chief Medical Executive at PRHC. “While mandates have lifted in most public spaces, PRHC is not operating in its pre-pandemic state, and in fact a number of key factors continue to converge at the hospital as we grapple with the effects of this sixth wave of COVID-19.”

With very high patient volumes and acuity, and a higher-than-usual number of patients who require isolation protocols to prevent the spread of illness inside the hospital, individuals who come to the ED for care should expect to wait longer than usual to be seen for all but the most acute illnesses and conditions.

The hospital encourages those considering coming to the ED to assess their illness and consider alternative options for care if their situation is not an emergency:

  • Individuals who are registered with a family physician/practitioner should seek non-urgent care through their office before coming to the hospital.
  • Health Connect Ontario is a free, confidential service available by calling 811 or visiting the website at healthconnectontario.health.gov.on.ca. Connect with a registered nurse day or night for non-urgent health advice and information.

“Our healthcare workers have also seen an increase in aggressive and abusive behaviours from some members of the public,” said Dr. Mikula. “PRHC staff and physicians are working incredibly hard right now, putting in long hours under increasingly challenging conditions in order to provide life-saving care for hundreds of patients each day, and I would like to be clear that violent and abusive behaviours, which create an unsafe and disruptive environment for our healthcare workers, patients and caregivers, will not be tolerated.”

Please be reminded that:


 For more information: Michelene Ough | Director, Communications | mough@prhc.on.ca