At the Montreal Children’s Hospital, emergency room (ER) visits are on the rise — but COVID-19 doesn’t appear to be the culprit.

“We’re seeing children with sprains, cuts, broken bones,” said Laurie Plotnick, director of the emergency department at the Children’s.

As COVID-19 restrictions loosen and children return to recreational activities like sports, these injuries can become more frequent, Plotnick explained.

“We do believe that it’s related to children returning to sports, recreation, getting together during spring break, de-confinement,” she said. “We’re seeing a variety of of reasons for coming to the emergency room: more injuries, a variety of infections, so not necessarily related to COVID.”

The Omicron variant brought on a spike in COVID-19 hospitalizations among children: during the first wave in 2020, children below age nine represented 0.4 per cent of hospitalizations, while in the fifth wave, they represented 4.8 per cent.

Nevertheless, Plotnick says the majority of ailments she’s witnessing are “par for the course,” such as respiratory illnesses, stomach flues and fevers.

Although the number of ER visits are increasing “week by week,” they still aren’t as high as they were pre-pandemic, according to the Children’s, which could change with the continued easing of health measures.