Researchers examine why Ontario ER visits spike when COVID-19 cases drop

From the CBC News article

Ontario researchers are looking into reasons behind the busiest times in the province’s emergency departments to help relieve the extreme burden facing hospital staff.

Within the last year, hospitals in eastern Ontario and across the province have reported reaching or exceeding capacity as COVID-19 cases surge.

“It’s been a two-year sprint for us,” said Dr. Atul Kapur, who works in the emergency department of The Ottawa Hospital.

He said with COVID-19 protocols and the volume of patients coming through the doors, the hospital’s ER is currently “at or very close to our historic peaks.”

This wave is different than earlier waves of the pandemic, though, as data shows visits to the emergency room have not coincided with the case peaks of the pandemic, according to Dr. Tara Kiran, a family physician at St. Michael’s Hospital and a researcher at the University of Toronto

Kiran said ERs have typically been at their busiest when overall COVID-19 cases were down in the province. Researchers also found emergency department volume was higher in Ontario in the year leading up to the pandemic compared to the pandemic months.

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