Flu Resources & ESC LHIN Regional Influenza Surge Strategy 2019-20

Anyone can catch the flu. Protect yourself – and others – by learning about the virus and recognizing the symptoms.



Get the flu shot
Find out where you can get the free flu shot: https://www.ontario.ca/page/get-flu-shot

How to protect yourself and others against the flu
The flu (influenza) is a contagious virus that anyone can get. But there are several things you can do to protect yourself from catching it, or spreading it to others: https://www.ontario.ca/page/flu-facts

What you need to know about the flu
Download the printable fact sheet

Healthcare Options & Holiday Season Resources 

The winter season brings with it an increased demand for health services in tandem with holiday closures between Christmas and New Year’s. Knowing where to go for health care is key for many individuals and families this time of year.

Eriestclairhealthline.ca is a free, comprehensive on-line resource featuring up-to-date information on services available for non-emergency medical needs in our communities across Chatham-Kent, Sarnia/Lambton, and Windsor/Essex.

Holiday hours for health service providers can be found here.

Manage stress during the holiday season with these tips from the Canadian Red Cross.

ESC LHIN Regional Influenza Surge Strategy 2019-20

On an annual basis, the health care system in Erie St. Clair and across the Province of Ontario experiences an increased demand for services, primarily due to respiratory influenza. Other factors such as weather, falls, depression, and population-specific impacts to frail seniors and/or seniors with complex health care needs directly correlate to increased demands. This annual trend, referred to as “seasonal surge,” is experienced between the months of November to April (approximately).

Seasonal Surge, although variable from year-to-year, can significantly stress the health care system causing barriers to access timely care, particularly hospital-based care. Specifically, seasonal surge pressures have impacted in the following ways:

  1. Increased hospital occupancy rates that exceed regular capacity
  2. Longer Emergency Department wait times and stays, with delayed admissions for those requiring acute care services
  3. Cancelled/postponed elective surgeries
  4. Delayed access to Long-Term Care and Rest and Retirement services due to “outbreaks”
  5. Over-extending of staffing resources due to overtime and increased workload

The Surge Season experienced in 2016/17 was more significant than in past years. While the Erie St. Clair LHIN and health service providers worked closely to manage the impact of surge with both proactive and reactive strategies, the absence of a region-wide strategy translated into an approach to surge management that lacked standardization, role clarity, and shared expectations among health care providers.

In 2017/18, a draft surge strategy was developed in collaboration with a broad range of health care stakeholders which addressed creating common understanding, definition, and approaches to acknowledging and addressing surge in demands for care.

The experiences of the past three surge seasons has informed the creation of the Erie St. Clair LHIN Regional Influenza Surge Strategy. The strategy will provide a framework to guide the health care system as it responds to another year of expected influenza-related pressures as well as a building point for future planning.

To access the 2019-20 ESC LHIN Regional Influenza Surge Strategy, click here.

Emergency Management Communication Tool (EMCT)

As part of the Erie St. Clair LHIN surge planning, we are working to ensure that all LHIN-funded health service providers have access to the Emergency Management Communication Tool (EMCT).

If a LHIN, public health unit, paramedic service or hospital does not currently have a representative who can access EMCT (or you are not sure), please contact EMCT Support at EMCT@LHINs.on.ca or by calling 1-844-668-3628. The number of available licenses will be limited to ensure these organizations can register.

For more information, please visit the Ontario EMCT website at: