Community Health Update from The Scarborough Health Network President Elizabeth Buller

January 12, 2022

Dear Neighbours,

I hope you and your families are safe and healthy during these challenging times. Let’s continue to protect each other and reduce the spread of COVID-19 by getting vaccinated, limiting in-person contacts, maintaining physical distancing, wearing a mask and saying home when ill.

The Province of Ontario has temporarily moved to a modified Step Two of the Roadmap to Reopen to limit the transmission of the Omicron variant and to prevent Ontario hospitals from becoming overwhelmed. The City of Toronto has updated its website to reflect changes in City services, I encourage residents to review the changes here. The City has also updated its COVID-19: Guide for Toronto Residents webpage.

I wanted to take this time to share an update on the current situation at our Scarborough Health Network hospitals:

Scarborough Health Network (SHN) has seen a rapid and increasing trend of hospitalizations due to COVID-19. Just this past weekend SHN admitted almost 100 new COVID-19 patients. SHN hospitals currently have over 200 COVID-19 patients and are expecting this number to increase in the coming days and weeks. 

SHN is also experiencing “outbreaks” across several hospital units impacting the ability to care for patients efficiently. In order to best serve patients and our community, SHN has taken concrete actions to manage this ongoing situation, including:


• Pausing non-emergency and non-urgent services to provide more resources and capacity for patients in Critical Care, Medicine and Emergency.  

• Opening a Cold/Flu/COVID clinic at SHN General Hospital for residents who feel they need to see a doctor and to redirect people from the Emergency Department and manage their care expediently.

• Utilizing the regional referral service to support patient discharges to home with support as soon as safely possible.

• Working with nurses and all health care providers to provide optimal care while optimizing our health human resources most effectively

• Supporting staff to work from home where possible. 

Staff Safety

• Launching a new Workplace Health & Safety COVID-19 Exposure and Symptom Screening Tool.

• Expanding use of N95 respirators under face shields for all clinical interactions, regardless of the patient’s COVID-19 status.    

• Prioritizing SHN staff, medical staff and families for both vaccination and booster doses of the COVID-19 vaccine.

• Making testing with expedited results available to SHN staff and medical staff.

• Addressing issues proactively at SHN leadership’s twice daily Omicron Operations Committee meetings.


• Ongoing vaccine clinics across Scarborough for all eligible ages.

• Dedicated vaccine spots at our Centennial Vaccine Clinic for education workers and pregnant women

• Upcoming pop ups in the community 

• Supporting shelters and community vaccination centers for targeted at-risk populations

Emergency Department 

Additionally, SHN’s emergency departments are open 24/7 if residents need medical attention, however SHN is asking for your support to ensure those who need emergency care, can receive it immediately:

• If you have only mild COVID-19 symptoms, you do not need to come to the emergency department.

• For advice on managing your mild COVID-19 symptoms at home, please access your primary care provider; urgent care or walk-in clinics, or after-hours clinics; or Telehealth Ontario (call toll-free to speak to a registered nurse at 1-866-797-0000 or TTY: 1-866-797-0007).

Additional non-emergency resources:

• SHN Cold and Flu Clinic: SHN Cold/Flu/COVID-19 Clinic, located at SHN’s General hospital (3050 Lawrence Ave E), is for patients who develop moderate symptoms common to COVID-19, the flu or a cold and need to see a doctor. Patients seen at the clinic will be given a medical assessment by a physician, who will consult with them about next steps they should take for their care.

• SHN Kids After Hours Clinic: For access to a paediatrician to treat common medical issues when your child’s doctor may be away or unavailable.

• Scarborough Virtual Urgent Care Clinic: If you need to be seen by a doctor for an urgent medical condition that is not life- or limb-threatening, then the Scarborough Virtual Urgent Care Clinic can provide you with services and care right through your phone, tablet or computer. The virtual clinic is available for adults and children (aged three months or older) from Scarborough and nearby communities.

• If you visit the emergency department, you will receive care based on the severity of your illness, even if you arrive by ambulance. As a result of very high patient volumes, this will mean longer-than-normal wait times for less severe illness or injury.

• Please do not come to Emergency for COVID-19 testing. If you meet the province’s current eligibility criteria, book an appointment at our COVID-19 Assessment Centres.

Please visit for more information on SHN’s COVID-19 cases, non-emergency resources, and updates on policies and practices.

You can follow Scarborough Health Network on social media and visit their website for regular updates regarding vaccination pop-up clinics, 1st, 2nd and 3rd (Booster) dose appointments and more:

• Twitter: @shncares

• Instagram: @shncares

• Website:

Scarborough Health Network Foundation

The Scarborough Health Network just launched its #LoveScarborough Campaign. The goal of this campaign is to shine light on the inequities in healthcare and to raise $100 million to support our Scarborough communities. To donate and to learn more about the campaign, please visit

I am continuously updating my social media platforms and my website:

You can also reach me by telephone at 416-396-7222 or email me at

All my Best,  


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