Kitchener-Waterloo

Got cold or flu symptoms? Guelph's COVID-19 assessment clinic expands to treat more people

The Guelph COVID-19 assessment centre is changing on Thursday to also treat people with cold and flu symptoms. With local hospitals full of patients, Guelph General Hospital's CEO urges people to follow public health advice to avoid spreading viruses.

'If you're sick, do not go and join the party,' hospital's CEO says of holiday gatherings

The COVID-19 assessment clinic in Guelph is expanding its services as of Thursday to also see people who have cold and flu symptoms. (George Rudy/Shutterstock)

People in Guelph who have cold and flu symptoms will be able to be assessed and treated through an assessment centre set up for COVID-19.

The centre, located at 400 Southgate Dr., has been where people have gone to get tested for COVID-19 for two years. Starting Thursday, it will become the Guelph COVID Cold Flu Care Clinic.

The goal is to help people in the city get care while also working to "ease the pressure on the emergency department at Guelph General Hospital," a news release said. The clinic is run by the hospital and the Guelph Family Health Team.

People will be able to make appointments at the clinic seven days a week, although weekend hours will be shorter. They're also encouraged to contact their family doctor before booking an appointment at the Guelph COVID Cold Flu Care Clinic.

"People with mild respiratory symptoms are advised to monitor their symptoms, rest and drink plenty of fluids," the news release said.

It also noted "most people in the community with symptoms are not eligible for COVID-19 testing" because they must meet provincial guidelines, which prioritizes people at increased risk of severe outcomes and people who live and work in high-risk settings.

WATCH | Have a lingering cough? Urgent-care doctor explains when it's normal and when it's not:

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Feel sick? 'Do not go and join the party'

Marianne Walker is president and chief executive officer of Guelph General Hospital and also the hospital lead for Waterloo Wellington's COVID-19 response.

She said that in Waterloo region, Guelph and Wellington County, hospitals are over capacity with both adult and child patients. 

"I think our major issue right now is managing the issues with very sick children, and so we are working with Ontario Health to look at taking a provincial approach to that," Walker said.

To help manage capacity in the health-care system and ensure "not everyone is getting sick at the same time," Walker said people should listen to public health experts, who are recommending getting vaccinated for COVID-19 and getting the flu shot, wearing masks, avoiding large gatherings and staying home if you're not feeling well.

Walker said that advice is particularly important as December is a time when many people might get together with family and friends.

"The big thing too is making sure that if you're sick, do not go and join the party," she said.

LISTEN | Guelph General Hospital's Marianne Walker on what local hospitals are facing right now and how to avoid becoming sick:

Marianne Walker, president and CEO of Guelph General Hospital and the hospital lead for Waterloo-Wellington's COVID-19 response, talks about what local hospitals are facing right now and what people can do to avoid getting sick during a busy time of year.

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