Navigating Covid, cold and flu season to avoid unnecessary emergency department visits.

  • Community   Thursday, December 1, 2022   

The Huron Perth and Area Ontario Health Team (HPA-OHT), its health-care members and physicians, are working together to assist the public in navigating respiratory illnesses while avoiding unnecessary visits to the emergency department.

“Viruses and other illnesses are running rampant this winter and our health-care system is seeing a large influx of emergency department visits that may be unnecessary,” said Dr. Kim Gilmour, HPA-OHT’s Primary Care Clinical Lead. “Most respiratory illness including colds, influenza, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) and COVID-19 can be managed at home without the need for prescription medications.”

Actions you can take before heading to an emergency department include the following:

• Call your family doctor to discuss symptoms to determine if you need to visit your doctor or the emergency department.
• Access virtual urgent care - appointment costs are fully covered with an Ontario health card.
• For adults and children: Book an appointment via
• For children: Book an appointment with London Health Science Centre’s Children's Emergency Department at or call 519-685-8735 between 3 p.m. to 7 p.m.

• Use Health Connect Ontario
• has a symptom checker and the option to chat live with a nurse.
• Call 811 to speak with a nurse, available 24 hours a day.

• Book an appointment at a COVID, Cold and Flu Care Clinic.
• COVID, Cold and Flu Care Clinics (CCFCCs) are for patients with moderate or worsening respiratory symptoms, or patients directed by their health-care provider to visit for care.
• These clinics offer access to assessment, testing and treatment without going to a hospital. If you can’t be seen by a family doctor, these clinics are a great option.

▪ Stratford: 519-272-8210 x 2747
▪ Goderich: 519-612-2320
▪ Grand Bend: 519-238-2362 x1 or visit 

The above actions for navigating respiratory illnesses do not replace your other touch points with your health-care provider. In a medical emergency, call 911 immediately.

The HPA-OHT has gathered further resources and included this information on a single, new webpage to help patients, families and caregivers navigate colds, RSV, flu and COVID-19. Learn more at

“Together we can slow the spread of respiratory illnesses in Huron Perth and area, while removing pressure from the health-care system,” said Dr. Gilmour.