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WATERLOO AND WELLINGTON REGIONS, December 7, 2023 — With the respiratory illness season underway, more people are looking for health care across Waterloo and Wellington regions. While your regional hospitals are always here for you when you are having an emergency, most other illnesses can be managed by another health care provider.

Your Waterloo and Wellington region hospitals, in partnership with our Ontario Health Teams - KW4, Cambridge North Dumfries, and Guelph Wellington - have partnered to create a Know Your Care Options website and guide to help our communities know where to go to get the right care at the right time.

“Our hospitals always see a higher volume of patients this time of year as respiratory illnesses such as cold and flu, COVID, and RSV make the rounds across the communities we serve,” says Dr. Bill Kalrai, Joint Medical Director of Emergency care at Grand River and St. Mary’s General Hospitals. “If you are experiencing a medical emergency - a severe illness or life-threatening injury - call 9-1-1 or go to your nearest emergency department; we are always here for you. But if you’re not experiencing an emergency, there are many other health care options available to you. It’s important for community members to know there are other places to go besides the emergency department.”

“Providers are working together to support the wellbeing of our community this cold and flu season and over the holidays,” says Emmi Perkins, Director of the Guelph Wellington Ontario Health Team. “If you have health concerns, please reach out to your primary care provider or nurse practitioner for support for your essential and urgent care needs. Community members without primary care are encouraged to utilize daytime and after hours supports in the community when appropriate and available.”

“We also know more than 65,000 people are without a family doctor across Waterloo and Wellington regions,” says Kristina Eliashevsky, Director of the Cambridge North Dumfries Ontario Health Team. “This means many people are going to our emergency departments for issues that can best be treated by a walk-in or urgent care clinic, via 811 (formerly TeleHealth Ontario), or through virtual care. Together with our hospital partners, the Ontario Health Teams in Waterloo and Wellington regions are committed to helping people get the best care in the right place.” 

Do you know where to go for the right care? Visit to learn more including:

  • When to go to the emergency department

  • When to see your family doctor or nurse practitioner

  • When to go to urgent care or walk-in clinics if you do not have a family doctor or nurse practitioner

  • A list of urgent care and walk-in clinics across Waterloo and Wellington regions

  • A list of local pharmacies Home and community care information

  • And more

Still not sure where to go?

Emergency? Call 9-1-1 immediately or go to your nearest emergency department

Not an emergency? You have many other health care options! You can:

  • Visit your family doctor or nurse practitioner

  • Go to walk-in or urgent care clinic

  • Call 811 for free health advice

  • Go to a local pharmacy

  • Book a virtual care appointment

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For more information please contact: Kara Weiler, Integrated Communications Director Grand River Hospital & Foundation M: 226-751-6508 or sends e-mail)

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