Covid-19 testing at local hospitals may take longer than a clinic

COLUMBUS,Miss. (WCBI)- We’ve been here before…

Rising case numbers, crowded hospitals, and people in critical need.

Medical professionals here in Columbus are asking folks to stay clear of the emergency room if their cases aren’t severe.

Hundreds are visiting local healthcare facilities to get tested for Coronavirus.

But, if you’re going to the hospital, that testing may take longer.

Up to 250 people —it’s the number of patients coming into the emergency room at Baptist Memorial Hospital Golden-Triangle per day.

” Every day we’ve been up 30% to 40% in our volume for over a week,” Emergency Room Physician Dr.Keith McCoy said.

The impact of the Omicron variant is leaving healthcare facilities across the country slammed with sick patients.

McCoy says before you drive to the hospital,there’s one thing you should know.

” Our ER is about 30% above its capacity. There’s a lot of volume because of the COVID surge. If they can find resources at one of the local urgent cares or a regular doctor’s office to get tested or there are other ways that they can do that,the ER might not be the right place for them,” McCoy said.

The average waiting time in the ER is around 25 minutes.

But,that response is slowing down as more foot traffic comes in.

On Wednesday, Baptist posted this statement on their Facebook page.

During the 5th wave of COVID-19, Baptist urges COVID-stricken patients to come to the emergency room only if they’re experiencing severe symptoms.

” If they feel like their symptoms are more serious like they have shortness of breath or a symptom that concerns them or they have an underlying health problem,” McCoy said.

” We treat as fast as we can, by doing all we can. We do x-rays, cat scans on them and they have infusion techniques, and medicines to counteract this disease,” Steve Chilcoat, Baptist’s X-Ray Technologist said.

As numbers continue to rise, McCoy asks the public to consider all their resources.

“It would take some of the strain that we’re currently experiencing in the emergency room and help us be more efficient with the more critical patients that we have,” McCoy said.

Baptist Golden Triangle hasn’t experienced an issue providing beds for critical care patients at this time.

For more information on testing centers and resources, click here.

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