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Hospital personnel urging against use of emergency rooms for testing

Hospital personnel urging against use of emergency rooms for testing
Posted at 5:40 PM, Jan 06, 2022

As the Omicron variant surges, emergency rooms nationwide and across Acadiana are feeling the effects of this latest wave.

Medical professionals at local hospital saying the already busy time for hospitals is even busier with people going to get tested for COVID-19.

"Our ERs are overrun with people trying to get tests," said Iberia Medical Center emergency department manager, Tanna Burleigh. "People get sick in January, so we are full from people who are just sick who have regular medical illnesses, so adding the overwhelming burden on the ER with testing, simple testing, puts a burden on those people who need to come through who are just sick."

Dr. Henry Kaufman, chief medical officer at Our Lady of Lourdes Regional Medical Center agrees. He told KATC that while no patient will be turned away, some patients take precedence over others.

"If you come in with chest pain or a serious critical illness or a stroke, you're going to be seen immediately, you're going to be prioritized above and beyond other people," Kaufman said. "If you have a mild respiratory illness, or you're not really sick but just want a test, you're going to be a fairly low priority."

Hospitals continue to push for people to get vaccinated against the virus.

"There have been hospitalized individuals with vaccines, but those are very sick, elderly, frail individuals who are at risk anyway," Kaufman said. "The best way to mitigate against having a serious infection and a serious problem with COVID is by getting vaccinated."

Instead of going to the ER for your COVID-19 tests, medical professionals are asking you to visit your doctor's office, urgent care, or local drive-thru pharmacy — that way you can save time, space, and some money, too.

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