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HHHS continuing efforts to keep emergency rooms open

The Haliburton Highlands Health Services has released another open letter to the community. President and CEO Carolyn Plummer says the organization is doing everything it can to avoid a service interruption at one of its emergency rooms.

“We are being supported by the Ministry of Health and Ontario Health, to keep both departments open with full services. The ministry is focused on supporting hospitals across Ontario, and we are grateful for their hard work,” she says.

HHHS has secured enough agency nurses support to keep both their two emergency departments operating in the months ahead, though the on-going shortage of staff across the province means they do not have much in the way of contingency plans. Plummer adds that they are still looking to find an additional recruiter to hire, train, and deploy additional staff, and to complement the work being done by the County of Haliburton’s Physician Recruiter.

As the Omicron variant continues to impact Ontario, HHHS is getting updated and new guidance from the Chief Medical Officer of Health, the Ministry of Health, and Ontario Health, and are updating procedures accordingly.

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“This is not the situation anyone wanted to be in, but in facing this new challenge, we all have a role to play to keep each other, our loved ones and families, and our community healthy and safe,” says Plummer.

She is hopeful everyone will take the necessary steps to remain safe over the holidays:

• wearing masks
• physical distancing
• reducing the number of contacts we have
• being immunized for COVID-19 (first, second, and booster doses)
• diligent hand washing

Any visitors at HHHS sites are required to wear a medical mask upon entry and screening for COVID-19 symptoms will take place. Patients in acute care and the emergency departments are only allowed to have one essential visitor who must show proof of two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine. Exceptions will be made for palliative, critically ill, and pediatric patients.

Plummer also wants to remind area residents to take care of their mental health and well-being and is highlighting the resources available on “Select the ‘Mental Health’ tab for community-based and virtual options to support you and your loved ones.”

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