OTTAWA -- A CHEO doctor will now see you on your smartphone or tablet.

CHEO’s Emergency Department is now offering virtual appointments with a pediatric emergency physician for children and youth needing urgent, but not medically life-threatening, care during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Starting Monday, CHEO will offer 24 virtual appointments a day, between 9 a.m. and 9 p.m. To submit a request for a virtual appointment, you can visit the CHEO website. The virtual appointments will be conducted using secure video connections.

The hospital recommends families consult with their primary care physicians, providers and pediatricians, whenever possible, and to always follow their recommendations when advised to come in person to CHEO's Emergency Department.

In a statement, CHEO President and CEO Alex Munter says “in the past 60 days we’ve seen a significant decline in the number of kids and teens coming to our Emergency Department, and those who are coming are too often presenting with worse symptoms than we would normally see.”

“Offering these virtual Emergency Department appointments as a pandemic initiative provides more choice, so every child or youth has access to the care they need during this extraordinary time.”

Two weeks ago, CHEO reported a 70 per cent drop in new cases of diabetes in the Emergency Department.

CHEO is the first pediatric hospital in Canada to begin offering virtual appointments with a pediatric emergency physician.

CHEO’s Emergency Department is always open for in-person visits.