CHEO's emergency department has seen higher-than-usual volume this February.

The Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario said wait times at its emergency department are getting longer as more and more families are taking their kids to the hospital with illnesses that are not serious.

The hospital said about 40 per cent of patients coming in to visit CHEO have conditions that are "low acuity."

As a result, emergency patient volumes are up 15 per cent from what the hospital sees in peak season.

CHEO is asking that families visit their pediatrician or family doctor unless they are dealing with a true emergency. The hospital is also asking families bringing in a sick child to leave the child's siblings and extended family members at home to help reduce the spread of viruses in the community.

CHEO said families can also call or visit one of the following:

  • Telehealth Ontario: 1-866-797-0000.
  • QuebecCLSC: 8-1-1, during the daytime. After hours listen to the recording for directions, which give a telephone number to call in the Outaouais region.
  • Your local Community Health Centre or a Family Medical Centre.
  • Mental Health Crisis Line: 613-722-6914 in Ottawa or 1-866-996-0991 outside the city.