ER wait times grow longer during COVID-19 pandemic

Longer ER wait times for some

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - Emergency rooms statewide have reported seeing more patients waiting longer.

Just yesterday, RMC warned of long waits in Anniston.

“Emergency rooms are very busy, as are all emergency rooms across the state. So when you come, if you don’t have an emergency situation, you are going to have long waits,” Louis Bass, President CEO of RMC.

Hospitals use a triage system, meaning those most in need of care, are seen first.

“A life threatening complication, a stroke or heart attack, they’re going to get whisked in,” Dr. Don Williamson, Alabama Hospital Association President.

Those who present symptoms of less urgent ailments will be treated after more serious patients.

“Emergency rooms are for emergencies,” Dr. Williamson said.

Instead, patients are asked to go to the doctor's office.

“I urge you, if you don’t have an emergency, please utilize our urgent cares or physicians throughout the community,” said Bass.

Otherwise, the wait in the ER may be several hours.

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