East Toronto Health Partners open Cold, Flu and COVID-19 Clinic for Kids

The East Toronto Health Partners Cold, Flu and COVID-19 Clinic for Kids is located in the Thorncliffe Park Hub at the East York Town Centre. Photo by Alan Shackleton.

By AMARACHI AMADIKE, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

On Nov. 28, East Toronto Health Partners (ETHP) launched a Cold, Flu and COVID-19 Clinic for children in the community.

The clinic, located at the Thorncliffe Park Hub in the East York Town Centre at 45 Overlea Blvd., aims to provide care for East Toronto kids between three months and 17 years old who are experiencing flu-like symptoms but have no paediatrician, family doctor or other primary care provider available to them.

“With cold, flu and other respiratory viruses circulating and a nation-wide shortage of over-the-counter medications for children, we recognize this respiratory season has been particularly challenging for families,” said Dr. Catherine Yu, Medical Director, Health Access Taylor-Massey and Health Access Thorncliffe Park.

Dr. Yu said that with the new clinic, ETHP “hope to make care as low-barrier as possible for local residents”.

As demand for paediatric care increases this winter season, local emergency department data indicates a disproportionate impact on certain neighbourhoods.

According to Phillip Anthony, Manager of Community Outreach Services at Michael Garron Hospital in East York, their data shows signs that families from Thorncliffe Park and Flemingdon Park visit the emergency department more than those from other areas in the city due to respiratory viruses.

For this reason, a nearby clinic that children from these neighbourhoods have quick access to was deemed necessary. The clinic is staffed by medical professionals from Michael Garron Hospital (MGH) and East Toronto Family Practice Network.

Additional support is also provided by other ETHP members including The Neighbourhood Organization (TNO), Flemingdon Health Centre and Health Access Thorncliffe Park.

“Whether it’s language barriers or difficulty navigating the healthcare system, our staff and community health ambassadors have seen firsthand the challenges that some Thorncliffe Park residents face when it comes to accessing health, social and community services,” said Ahmed Hussein, CEO of The Neighbourhood Organization.

“We’re pleased to continue our work with partners in an effort to improve the way local residents find and get care.”

Depending on the services a patient needs, the clinic is available by appointments as well as walk-in.

For cold, flu and COVID-19 assessments for children and youth; access to children’s cold, fever and pain medicine; and medicine prescriptions, visitors are advised to make an appointment.

However, if a patient simply requires a COVID-19 test, wants to pick-up or drop-off a take-home test, or access COVID-19 treatment such as prescriptions for the Paxlovid pill, they do not need to make an appointment.

This isn’t the first initiative by an ETHP member that provides extra paediatric care for children who don’t have immediate access to medical providers. In October 2021, Michael Garron Hospital introduced the Child and Youth Emergency Zone which has provided care for more than 20,000 families since its inception.

Although the new clinic is now available for urgent but non life-threatening health issues,  individuals experiencing severe symptoms are advised to visit the nearest emergency department for the appropriate care.

For information on booking appointments at the Cold, Flu and COVID-19 Clinic for Kids, please go to https://www.tehn.ca/covid19/cold-flu-and-covid-19-clinic-kids

Amarachi Amadike is a Local Journalism Initiative Reporter for Beach Metro Community News. His reporting is funded by the Government of Canada through its Local Journalism Initiative.

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