When should you call an ambulance, go to ER or get COVID test?
AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - Increased demand for emergency services has caused long wait times in emergency rooms, and that affects ambulance transportation.
Gold Cross EMS says you should not use the emergency rooms or dial 911 for COVID testing, saying they are not designed to provide testing.
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They say it is also not appropriate to call 911 to get a ride to an emergency room or anywhere else so that you can get a COVID test.
Emergency medical service providers would also like to express that being transported by ambulance does not necessarily mean you will be seen more quickly at the ER.
They say use other resources, like virtual visits or primary care or urgent care facilities. This allows ambulances to be available for life-threatening emergencies.
Here is a guide that Gold Cross EMS says can help decide when you should go to the emergency room:
Hospitals have been seeing a surge in people coming to emergency rooms seeking COVID testing. They say people need to stay away from the emergency room unless they are experiencing a true emergency.
Although University Hospital has seen surges before, “we are experiencing an issue unique to this pandemic, which is the rush to test for COVID-19,” hospital spokeswoman Rebecca Sylvester said.
Sylvester said just because you’re having symptoms doesn’t mean you have to get a test right away. Isolation is the important thing, she said.
In addition to COVID, other respiratory illnesses are circulating, and University said people experiencing symptoms should isolate themselves from others until they are feeling better, contact their physicians or visit a prompt care site if symptoms persist and worsen, and seek help from the closest emergency department if symptoms warrant.
“Using good judgment regarding testing will help alleviate unnecessary overcrowding and delayed care for people who need it.” Sylvester said. “And finally, being vaccinated and boosted against COVID-19 continues to be extremely effective against serious illness in the event people are infected with the virus.”
Here’s a guide on when you may need a test:
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