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A outdoor sign pillar directing to the emergency department at Juravinski Hospital
January 13, 2022

Healthcare options for Hamiltonians as Omicron spreads

With the rapid spread of the Omicron variant and high emergency department volumes there’s a critical need maintain access to health care for urgent and emergency situations. Therefore, Hamilton’s health partners are urging the community to learn about the many care options available in the city.

The NeedADoc.ca website is a made-in-Hamilton solution to help people find guidance on healthcare options based on the individuals’ health concerns, including COVID-19.

“At this time, it’s more important than ever that we preserve hospital and ambulance resources for critical and emergency care,” says Dr. Bram Rochwerg, an intensive care unit physician at HHS. “Need A Doc is an excellent resource for those with less urgent medical needs or questions.”

The Need A Doc website was developed in partnership with Hamilton Health Sciences (HHS), St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton (SJHH), Hamilton Paramedic Services (EMS), Hamilton Family Medicine and Hamilton Public Health Services.

Guidance for those with suspected or confirmed COVID-19

If you have symptoms of COVID or a positive rapid antigen test, presume you have it and stay home to self-isolate immediately. You should also self-isolate if someone in your household is exhibiting symptoms. These symptoms can include:

  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath
  • Loss of smell and taste
  • Runny nose
  • Nasal congestion
  • Headache
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Muscle or joint pain
  • Sore throat

The length of time for self-isolating can differ since it depends on multiple factors. Please follow these guidelines.

Be sure to inform those you have been in close contact with over the past 48 hours. These are people you either live with, or have been within six feet from for more than 15 minutes.

If you’re in a higher risk group, connect with your family doctor. This includes individuals who are:

  • 60 years of age or older
  • Living with a long-term medical condition
  • Pregnant
  • Unvaccinated

Please be aware that Urgent Care Centres and Emergency Departments will not administer COVID-19 tests upon request.

Guidance for worsening COVID-19 symptoms

Even if you’re not high risk, but your symptoms continue to worsen, connect with your family doctor. Those who don’t have a family doctor or can’t access them, can make a virtual urgent care appointment through urgentcareontario.ca.

When experiencing moderate to severe illness visit one of Hamilton’s Urgent Care Centes, and of course our emergency departments are available when experiencing a medical emergency.

Find additional details at NeedADoc.ca.