Canadian Red Cross to help CHEO hospital staff amid surge in respiratory illnesses

WATCH: This year's cold and flu season has come in with a punch, and the combination of medicine shortages and overwhelmed hospitals has led to parents and medical professionals taking on more than they could handle. In Canada, the U.S. and the U.K., cases of the flu are higher than they've been in decades. But is our immunity compromised, is it a lack of vaccines or a combination of both? Ross Lord gets some answers.

The Canadian Red Cross says it’s coming to help the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario amid a surge of children and youth with respiratory illnesses.

Red Cross spokesperson Leianne Musselman confirmed in an email that the organization will be providing small teams to support CHEO hospital staff.

She said there’s no firm start date to the agreement, which will allow CHEO staff to focus on clinical tasks.

CHEO opened a second intensive care unit in November to treat what it called an unprecedented number of critically ill babies and children.

In Calgary, Alberta Health Services said it’s discharging all children from the Rotary Flames House in Calgary that helps dying children and their families and is pausing admissions to the house due to a surge in children with the flu, R-S-V and COVID-19.

Children’s hospitals in Calgary and Edmonton have been at or above 100 per cent capacity since last week, while some routine surgeries and appointments at a children’s hospital in St. John’s, Newfoundland are being cancelled next due to the surge in illnesses and admissions.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 4, 2022.

© 2022 The Canadian Press

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