St. Catharines, ON – The Niagara region’s five COVID, Cold, and Flu Care Clinics (CCFCCs) will permanently close their doors on Friday, March 31, 2023. Visit volumes have reached a point where clinics are no longer required to remain open.
The CCFCCs began operation in early December 2022 in response to the challenges faced by the region’s health care system due to the early arrival of influenza, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), and continued COVID-19 infections. Since then, more than 950 people have visited a CCFCC to be tested, assessed, or treated for a respiratory illness.
“Thanks to the collaborative spirit shown by our primary care providers and Niagara Health, we were able to quickly identify CCFCC locations and the processes required to assist people who needed help for their respiratory symptoms, particularly for people who did not have timely access to a family doctor or nurse practitioner,” said Dr. Darija Vujosevic, Primary Care Clinical Lead for the Niagara Ontario Health Team-Équipe Santé Ontario Niagara (NOHT-ÉSON).
“Through this partnership, people received timely guidance and treatment, and they likely avoided visiting an emergency department or walk-in clinic,” added Dr. Jennifer Frendo, Niagara Health’s Co-Lead Physician for the COVID-19 Assessment and Treatment Centres. “I’d like to thank the many health care providers and their staff for supporting this important health initiative.”
Despite the closure of the CCFCCs, respiratory illnesses and COVID-19 remain present in the community. After March 31, 2023, the NOHT-ÉSON recommends people who have COVID-19 or symptoms of a respiratory illness do the following:
- Call your pharmacy or locate the nearest pharmacy that provides COVID-19 testing
- Contact your family doctor or nurse practitioner
- Call 811 or visit ontario.ca/health811 for more information about testing, assessment, and treatment
- Consult https://www.ontario.ca/assessment-centre-locations for an assessment centre near you
If you think you have COVID-19, seek treatment and don’t delay. You will need to start treatment within five days of the start of symptoms.
If you or your child have severe symptoms, call 911 or go to the emergency department.
For adults, severe symptoms include:
- Shortness of breath
- Chest pain
- Loss of consciousness
For children, severe symptoms include:
- Working hard or straining to breathe – for example, the lower chest is moving in more than normal when the child breathes, the child is grunting, or the child’s nostrils are flaring
- Bluish skin
- Unable to breastfeed or drink
- Very sleepy or difficult to wake
- Peeing less than usual
- Fever with rash
- Seizures or convulsions
- Fever in an infant younger than three months
If you are worried your child is seriously ill, call 911 or go to the emergency department.