Renfrew Victoria Hospital holiday healthcare message

December 16, 2022

RVH emergency department 

As we head into the holiday season and New Year, RVH would like to share a few tips to help ensure that everyone has a happy and healthy holiday.

Once again this year, we are facing both the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and winter flu surge in the community and in our hospital. By working together and following the guidance of the Renfrew County District Public Health Unit (RCDHU), we can meet the challenges this presents.

“By planning ahead, and making use of alternative options for non-emergency situations, the community can help to minimize the seasonal strain on our local ED and keep the service accessible for those who need it the most,” notes Dr. Kristian Davies, RVH Director of ED.

As the holidays approach:


  • get your flu shot
  • make sure all your prescriptions are up to date and filled and you have any required medical supplies/equipment on hand
  • check your primary care provider’s holiday schedule and coverage
  • know your options if your doctor is not available and avoid unnecessary emergency department visits:
    • Health Connect Ontario Call 811 to chat with a registered nurse 24/7 free of charge
    • Telehealth Ontario Call 1-866-797-0000 (24/7)
    • Renfrew County VTAC 1-844-727-6404
    • For a medical emergency (e.g. shortness of breath, chest pain, loss of consciousness, etc.), call 911.


The symptoms of COVID-19 and other flu-like symptoms that you can expect include fever or chills, cough, difficulty breathing, loss of taste or smell, runny nose/nasal congestion, headache, extreme tiredness, sore throat, muscle aches or joint pain, muscle aches or joint pain, gastrointestinal symptoms (vomiting or diarrhea), abdominal pain, pink eye.

Severe symptoms for children that should trigger a 911 call or visit to the emergency department include straining to breathe (i.e., lower chest moves more than normal, child is grunting, or nostrils are flaring), bluish skin, unable to breastfeed or drink, very sleepy/difficult to wake, peeing less than usual, fever with rash, seizures or convulsions, fever in an infant younger than three months.

If you do need to visit the emergency department, please bring your health card and all of your medications. Be mindful that wait times may be longer than usual under the strain of increased visits over the holidays, and remember that staff and physicians are doing their very best. Any form of violence or abuse such as swearing or yelling will not be tolerated.

“We are grateful to the staff and physicians who work tirelessly to provide the best possible healthcare experience for patients and their families. We are also very appreciative of the community support we receive year in and year out, as well as your patience and understanding during particularly strenuous times. We wish everyone a safe and healthy holiday season,” stated Julia Boudreau, RVH President and CEO.