Team members from Health Access Taylor-Massey, a healthcare, community and social services centre operated by ETHP, with local residents and community health ambassadors.
Changes to services include closing the Cold, Flu and COVID-19 Clinic and continuing supports for primary care, mental health and preventative cancer screening.
As cold and flu season comes to an end, East Toronto Health Partners (ETHP), the Ontario Health Team (OHT) serving East Toronto, is further shifting its focus to healthcare recovery to help local residents catch up on care they may have missed or delayed during the COVID-19 pandemic.
This shift includes continuing to work with partner organizations and community health ambassadors across sectors to help improve access to health, social and community services in East Toronto, including primary care, preventative cancer screening and mental health supports. This is especially important in neighbourhoods that were disproportionately impacted by COVID-19 and where residents face barriers to care.
As a result of this shift, ETHP is making the following changes to its community services in East Toronto. These sites and services were supported by temporary funding from the Government of Ontario.
- The Cold, Flu and COVID-19 Clinic will be closed. The clinic’s last day of operation is March 30.
- The Community Outreach Centre in Thorncliffe Park will be closed. The site’s last day of operation is March 30. This site operated under the same roof as the Cold, Flu and COVID-19 Clinic and offered COVID-19 polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests and access to COVID-19 treatment.
- As of March 24, COVID-19 PCR tests, access to COVID-19 treatment and COVID-19 vaccines are no longer available at Health Access Taylor-Massey.
Health, social and community services that will continue include:
- Health Access Taylor-Massey, a healthcare, community and social services centre that offers access to family doctors, nurse practitioners and a resource navigator, as well as preventative cancer screening and mental health supports.
- Thorncliffe Park Youth Wellness Hub, a welcoming space that provides health, wellness, employment and other services for youth and young adults. Online services are now available.
- Michael Garron Hospital’s (MGH) Child and Youth Emergency Zone, a family-friendly space beside the Stavro Emegergency Department designed to treat children and youth aged 17 years and under in East Toronto who need urgent or acute medical care when their paediatrician or family doctor is not available.
- Other urgent care options, including urgent care centres and walk-in clinics in East Toronto, which provide care during times when an individual is experiencing an urgent but non-life threatening health issue and their primary care provider is not available.
- Clinical Assessment Centres and testing sites in Toronto, which offer PCR testing and assessments and prescriptions for COVID-19 treatment, including the Paxlovid pill.
- Local pharmacies, which may offer COVID-19 tests; assessment and treatment for COVID-19 treatment, including the Paxlovid pill; vaccines; and prescriptions for minor common ailments, including rashes, pink eye, insect bites and urinary tract infections.
- Immunization clinics, which offer the COVID-19 vaccine and other vaccines. Community members may find an immunization clinic near them at ca/bookvaccine and on the Toronto Public Health website.
For more information about how to protect yourself, your family and your community from COVID-19 and other respiratory illnesses, visit the Government of Ontario’s website. If you have questions related to COVID-19 testing, assessment and treatment, you can visit Ontario.ca/Health811 or call 8-1-1.
Success of Cold, Flu and COVID-19 Clinic
The Cold, Flu and COVID-19 Clinic launched in November 2022 to help address the surge in demand for care resulting from an increase in cold, flu and respiratory cases across the health system during the most recent fall and winter seasons.
Since then, the clinic has seen more than 1,000 patients, about 80% of whom live in East Toronto. Many of these patients were infants and children, though the clinic also saw a number of older adults since eligibility expanded in January.
This helped alleviate patient volumes at emergency departments, including at MGH, during a time when many hospitals and healthcare organizations across Ontario were seeing an increased demand for urgent, acute health services and there was a nation-wide shortage of over-the-counter medications for children.
“Thanks to this initiative, Thorncliffe Park residents were able to get the care they need in their own backyard,” says Ahmed Hussein, CEO of TNO – The Neighbourhood Organization.
“We’ve seen firsthand the positive impact of this – from ensuring children who are feeling unwell can see a doctor in a timely manner to connecting families with over-the-counter cold and flu medications during a time when it was challenging to access this relief. I know our community has been extremely grateful for this resource and thank our partners for their continued support of improving care in Thorncliffe Park.”
Impact of providing COVID-19 tests close to home
Over the past three years, the Community Outreach Centre in Thorncliffe Park and Health Access Taylor-Massey administered hundreds of thousands of PCR tests and more than 7,000 assessments for COVID-19 treatment. More than 80% of the patients who received these services at these sites live in East Toronto.
By providing local residents with safe, easy and convenient access to PCR tests and treatment, these sites helped identify positive cases of COVID-19 as quickly as possible. This helped prevent the spread of COVID-19 in East Toronto communities, protecting hundreds of thousands of individuals – including those most vulnerable – from the virus.
Like the Cold, Flu and COVID-19 Clinic, these sites were staffed by physicians, nurses and other team members from MGH and East Toronto Family Practice Network with support from community partners, including TNO – The Neighbourhood Organization, Flemingdon Health Centre and Health Access Thorncliffe Park. All of these organizations are members of ETHP.
“The Cold, Flu and COVID-19 Clinic; the Community Outreach Centre in Thorncliffe Park; and the work we’ve accomplished at Health Access Taylor-Massey are examples of what is possible when partners from across the health system – including hospital, primary care and community care – come together to address a need in our community,” says Dr. Jeff Powis, Medical Lead of Integrated Care at ETHP.
“We thank our partners for their collaboration on these initiatives. We remain committed to partnering with the community to improve health outcomes for everyone and look forward to continuing our work with health system partners to advance healthcare recovery in East Toronto.”