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Ontario Hospitals Are Now Opening Children COVID-19 Clinics As Cases Rise

The Windsor Regional Hospital in Ontario opened an additional COVID-19 assessment centre for children on August 31.

The Paediatric Urgent Medical Assessment (PUMA) opened amid an increase in the need for pediatric testing, the chief nursing executive at Windsor Hospital, Karen Riddell, told Narcity.

"We started planning for it a couple of weeks ago. As you know, we have another COVID-19 assessment centre located at our elect campus, and what we've been seeing over the last few weeks is an increase in demand for pediatric testing," said Riddell. "And then, of course, we've got our rising rates in Windsor-Essex County."

Why is there a need?

Riddell says they have also been "looking down south in the U.S. the southern states in particular," which have been seeing high rates of pediatric hospitalization and impact from the Delta variant.

"Back again locally, we know that our school are going back in another week, so we're going to be getting back into in-person learning, and any time we move inside, we know that increases risk for transmission of COVID-19 and, in particular, the Delta variant."

"So what we wanted to do was make sure that [..] we had enough capacity for the potentially increased demand but also look at the opportunity to consolidate all of our children that are presenting for testing at our Metropolitan campus so that we've got easy access to our pediatricians and having that expertise on hand."

What has the response been?

On opening day yesterday, Riddell said they had 60 available slots, 59 of which were booked up. She expects today will be equally as busy.

PUMA offers "COVID-19 testing, urgent care medical assessment based on potential COVID-19 symptoms, and, where appropriate, COVID-19 vaccinations using the approved Pfizer vaccine for those born in 2009 or earlier," and will be open seven days a week from 12 p.m. to 8 p.m. according to the hospital website.

Do other hospitals have similar programs?

Michael Garron Hospital has also relaunched its Paediatric Emergency Department COVID-19 Assessment Zone for the back-to-school season, according to a statement from Dr. Kyle Vojdani, chief of the emergency department.

"We understand the COVID-19 testing and assessment experience can be stressful for families. As students prepare to go back to school, Michael Garron Hospital (MGH) is re-launching its Paediatric Emergency Department (ED) COVID-19 Assessment Zone to provide a safe and accessible space for symptomatic children and families in East Toronto to receive COVID-19 tests and assessments."

PUMA and Micheal Garron Hospital's Paediatric Emergency Department COVID-19 Assessment Zone both require online bookings to visit their children's assessment centres.

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