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Niagara Health, Niagara EMS working to increase capacity in Emergency Departments, Urgent Care Centres

Posted Jan 26th, 2021

As we navigate the second wave of COVID-19, Niagara Health, in partnership with Niagara Emergency Medical Services, continues to work on increasing capacity in Emergency Departments and Urgent Care Centres so we can better serve our community. 

Beginning Wednesday, Jan. 27, Niagara Health (NH) and Niagara EMS are expanding their ambulance arrivals to NH’s Urgent Care Centres in Fort Erie and Port Colborne.

What does this means for the community?

If someone is experiencing an emergency that results in the need for paramedics to attend to them, Niagara EMS paramedics will assess their immediate health needs and determine the most appropriate resource for them to receive care within the appropriate time.

In serious and critical situations requiring immediate care from the services of an Emergency Department, patients will be transported to the closest, most appropriate ED. Patients requiring lower-acuity or non-emergent healthcare may be transported by ambulance to Niagara Health’s Urgent Care Centres in Port Colborne or Fort Erie.  

“Expanding our ambulance arrivals to our Urgent Care Centres in Fort Erie and Port Colborne is part of our effort to increase capacity in our Emergency Departments and Urgent Care Centres during the pandemic and to ensure people are receiving care in the most appropriate place,” says Derek McNally, Niagara Health Executive Vice President Clinical Services and Chief Nursing Executive. “Our healthcare team is committed to providing safe, high-quality care to the people we serve as we work through these challenging times.”

“As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact Niagara communities resulting in more people seeking healthcare services, we must ensure that we can continue meeting the needs of people seeking 911 emergency health services,” says Kevin Smith, Chief of Niagara Emergency Medical Services. “Niagara EMS medical dispatchers, nurses and paramedics will continue to ensure your immediate health needs are met. To accomplish this means needing to implement changes such as this to sustain our ability to provide the vital emergency services for our community.”

Emergency Department teams treat patients for more serious conditions such as trouble breathing, chest pain or pressure, broken bones, complications of pregnancy and serious illness or injury. Urgent Care Centres care for people with health concerns that are not an emergency, such as minor abdominal pain (nausea, vomiting), ear, nose, throat and eye problems, cuts that may need stitches, sprains, strains and minor asthma attacks or allergic reactions.

Know Your Healthcare Options in Niagara

Niagara Health and Niagara EMS are also reminding the community of their healthcare options in Niagara. In non-emergency situations, your first option should be a family doctor or nurse practitioner.

Other options include:

  • Walk-in clinics.
  • Telehealth 1-866-797-0000 for health advice and information from a registered nurse 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
  • Visit Healthcare Options at to search for a healthcare provider near you.
  • Call 211 for information and services about healthcare in Niagara
  • For medical emergencies: Call 9-1-1 immediately or go to the nearest Emergency Department.

Visit the Know Your Healthcare Options page on the Niagara Health website.

Niagara Health System