The Timmins and District Hospital's assessment clinic has been busy seeing people with respiratory illnesses.
“We’re seeing in the community for sure higher volume of kids and adults with respiratory type illnesses," said Doctor Chris Clark, medical lead for the Timmins and District Hospital's Assessment Clinic.
"The other thing that’s going on is limited access to medications for parents to treat kids with Advil or Tylenol in the community, some antibiotics are short in the community so it’s just a bit of a perfect storm."
The assessment clinic is located across the road from the hospital at 651 Ross Ave. East and is open seven days a week. A physician is on-site in the mornings.
Anyone over the age of two, especially those with a family physician, can book a test at the clinic.
“We can swab here for strep throat, for RSV, for influenza, for COVID,” said Clark.
“And we also want people to come here to seek treatment for COVID if they’re at high risk whether they're compromised or unvaccinated or have significant co-existing disease.”
The assessment clinic has seen 74 people since testing began on Nov. 21. Officials said people can avoid long waits in the emergency room by making an appointment at the clinic.
“Our volumes are up 20, 25 to 30 per cent over where we were pre-COVID and probably there’s a quarter of all the presentations of people coming in with respiratory symptoms, fever, cough, shortness of breath, sore throats," said Jodie Russell, manager of infection prevention and control for Timmins and District Hospital.
“So that's atypical for us at this time of year.”
While Russell and Clark want people to get help as quickly as possible, the Porcupine Health Unit is promoting prevention.
"So really recommending indoor mask use, so when you're in a large crowd or gathering, to wear a mask, especially around children and people that are more vulnerable," said Lynn Leggett, manager of infectious diseases and clinical services.
Leggett said the health unit has also added more flu vaccine clinics at its Pine Street office location.