Pediatric surge at KHSC

We are currently experiencing a significant increase in demand for pediatric care due to the surge of respiratory infections in children in our community, region and province:

  • We are seeing record volumes in the Children’s Outpatient Centre (COPC) at our Hotel Dieu Hospital site, mostly related to respiratory illness.
  • More children are being hospitalized at our Kingston General Hospital site, including patients requiring pediatric intensive care, and we are also accepting patient transfers from outside our region to help children’s hospitals that are struggling with very large volumes of sick children.
  • Further complicating matters has been the continuing shortage of children’s Tylenol and Advil, which can be used to help parents manage fevers in children who are sick. The shortage means that more families have been coming to COPC when their child is ill. Health Canada recently announced that pharmacists can now provide compounded versions of these medications without a prescription from a doctor. Please call your pharmacist for more information.

How is KHSC responding?

  • Our health-care teams are working quickly to ensure we have the physicians, staff and space needed to accommodate this growing pediatric need. 
  • Meanwhile, we are here for you. If your child needs emergency or urgent care, please go to our Emergency Department, COPC Urgent Care, or UCC. Note that the sickest people are seen first. Please come prepared for a longer-than-usual wait at this time. Please bring snacks, drinks and something to help pass the time for your child to make the wait as comfortable as possible.

When and where to seek emergency care

In emergencies (see chart below), children can be seen in COPC or UCC at our Hotel Dieu Hospital site, or in the Emergency Department at our Kingston General Hospital site.  For non-emergency or for children with less urgent needs (see chart) parents should contact their family physician or visit for help determining other alternative health care options.

What else can parents do?

  • Consider masking in public spaces, isolate children if they are not feeling well, make sure they are vaccinated against COVID-19 and influenza, practice good hand hygiene at all times and practice physical distancing whenever possible.
  • To learn more about how to care for children with respiratory illnesses such as RSV, influenza and COVID-19, click here. Note that children who have symptoms, including fever, that lasts beyond five days should be seen by a doctor.