Press Releases

Monday, December 29, 2014

Winnipeg health system experiencing high demand

Hospitals and emergency departments across the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority (WRHA) are extremely busy due to significant increases in emergency department visits and hospital admissions arising from influenza-like illnesses.

Over the weekend, Winnipeg hospitals recorded more than 900 visits to emergency rooms in a single day. On average, Winnipeg hospitals record between 700 and 750 emergency room visits a day. Generally, only 10 to 12 percent of the visits to an emergency room are admitted to hospital, but increased acuity levels of those presenting to emergency rooms over the last few days has increased the admission rate to more than 20 percent.

"Over the last several days, demand on the health system has increased significantly," said Ms. Lori Lamont, Vice-President and Chief Nursing Officer, WRHA. "We want to assure Winnipeggers and Manitobans those with serious injuries and illnesses will continue to be seen quickly across Winnipeg's six emergency departments. Those with minor or less severe injuries or illnesses can expect longer waits in emergency rooms as we look after an increasing number of very ill people requiring admission to hospital."

In order to address the significant increases in emergency room visits and hospital admissions, the WRHA is:

  • Adding medical staff to assist with increased hospital admissions;
  • Repatriating patients from outside Winnipeg back to their referring health regions as soon as it is safely possible;
  • Temporarily transferring patients waiting in hospital for the personal care home of their choice to the first available personal care home bed that matches patients' ongoing care needs;
  • Increasing homecare resources to facilitate discharge for those patients waiting in hospital or an emergency room for home-based supports; and
  • Increasing the hours Winnipeg's two QuickCare Clinics are open.

Ms. Lamont noted for non-emergent situations there are primary care alternatives the public can consider other than emergency rooms including:

  • Family doctor's office
  • QuickCare Clinics
  • PanAm Clinic
  • Walk-in Clinics
  • Misericordia Urgent Care Centre
  • Mental Health Crisis Response Centre

The public can visit to find the closest medical clinic available to them and the hours various medical clinics are open across Winnipeg.

"As always, if anyone feels their health situation is an emergency, please don't hesitate to go to the nearest emergency department," said Ms. Lamont.

Based on the most available flu surveillance data, influenza activity within the Winnipeg health region has increased significantly. To protect against the flu or prevent it from spreading to others:

  • Wash your hands frequently;
  • Keep your hands away from your face;
  • Cough and sneeze into your arm, not your hand;
  • If you get sick, stay home; and
  • Get a flu shot.


Melissa Hoft
WRHA Media Relations

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Traditional Territories Acknowledgement
The Winnipeg Regional Health Authority acknowledges that it provides health services in facilities located in Treaty One and Treaty Five territories, the homelands of the Métis Nation and the original lands of the Inuit people. The WRHA respects and acknowledges harms and mistakes, and we dedicate ourselves to collaborate in partnership with First Nation, Métis and Inuit people in the spirit of reconciliation.
Click here to read more about the WRHA's efforts towards reconciliation

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