Toronto Hospital for Sick Children tells parents to prepare for long ER wait times

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Toronto's Hospital for Sick Children is warning patients that its emergency department is currently experiencing beyond normal wait times and is warning them to come prepared.

In a tweet posted Tuesday evening, the research and pediatric hospital, also known as SickKids, says it is seeing extremely high patient volumes and ``much longer than normal wait times'' for non-emergency issues.

The hospital says the sickest patients will be seen first.

It is asking patients intending to visit the emergency department to come prepared with water bottles, nut-free snacks, phone chargers and entertainment for their wait.

SickKids says patients can assess whether they should visit the hospital's emergency department or first visit an urgent care clinic by talking to their primary care provider or visiting the AboutKidsHealth education website.

Last week, the Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario in Ottawa tweeted a similar message that its emergency department was experiencing heavy volumes and asked patients to come prepared with snacks, blankets and toys to make the wait as comfortable as possible.

Niagara Health has announced Port Colborne's Urgent Care Centre will be closed this Saturday afternoon starting at 4 p.m. for 16 hours due to a staffing shortage.