A sign directing visitors to the emergency department is shown at the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO) Friday, May 15, 2015 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

A sign directing visitors to the emergency department is shown at the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO) Friday, May 15, 2015 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

Premiers to hold virtual news conference on struggling children’s hospitals

Hospitals across the country facing increase in pediatric patients with respiratory ailments

Canada’s premiers plan to hold a news conference in Winnipeg today as children’s hospitals struggle to deal with a wave of child illnesses.

Hospitals across the country have been cancelling some surgeries and appointments as they redirect staff amid an increase in pediatric patients.

Admissions are surging under a triple-threat of respiratory syncytial virus, influenza and COVID-19 at a time when the health-care system is grappling with record numbers of job vacancies.

In Ottawa, two teams of Canadian Red Cross personnel are working rotating overnight shifts at the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario in support of its clinical-care team, while some patients have been redirected to adult health-care facilities.

A pediatric hospice in Calgary has been temporarily closed as staff are diverted to a children’s hospital.

Members of the Alberta Medical Association have sent a letter to the province’s acting chief medical officer of health calling for stronger public health measures to prevent the spread of the illnesses, including increasing public messaging about the safety of vaccines, encouraging flu and COVID-19 vaccines, and temporarily requiring masks in schools.

RELATED: Children’s deaths from influenza up in B.C., with five mortalities last month

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