Scottsboro, AL

Coast to Coast Health Leaders Urging People with Mild COVID-19 Symptoms Not to Go to ER

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From coast to coast health officials are urging people with mild Covid symptoms not to go to the ER. “Unless you’re severely ill, please, please, do not go to an emergency room for COVID symptoms and especially not just to get tested," Dr. Michael Schooff of CHI Health said.

Hospitals, large and small, have seen a huge increase in people coming to the emergency room with covid symptoms and looking for testing causing overcrowding and excessive wait times. Some hospitals are reporting as much as 48% of recent ER patients are COVID-like symptoms.

As COVID-19 cases have skyrocketed, so has demand for testing. At-home tests are still hard to come by, but testing is still available at physical locations and is typically provided at no cost. Health officials are urging people to locate their nearest testing site and use them.

Doctors everywhere are maintaining that it is extremely challenging right now to be able to manage those who need acute care and emergency care with those that just may need covid testing. Hospitals have seen their emergency rooms packed with people seeking testing. They're asking people to use other options for testing and reserve visits to the ER for emergencies.

UPMC Infectious Disease Specialist Dr. John Goldmaisk says people who do not have severe symptoms may infection at the hospital. "The worst place to go is a crowded emergency room where you’re going to wait for hours if you aren’t sick," said Goldman. "See if a telemedicine appointment is available, see if there’s a primary doctor appointment available, see if there’s something they can handle over the phone, or see if they can arrange a test."

Even small hospitals like Highlands Medical in Scottsboro, Alabama issued a press release. "Please do not visit the ER for Covid testing or for symptoms or reasons that do not require emergent care."

Health leaders are encouraging those with non-life-threatening symptoms such as sore throat, running nose, or not feeling well should contact their primary care physician or urgent care facility.

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