Ala. hospitals urge patients to go to emergency rooms for true emergencies, not COVID-19 testing

Published: Aug. 4, 2021 at 4:10 PM CDT
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - Alabama health leaders said Wednesday as cases of COVID-19 in Alabama increase rapidly, hospitalizations due to the virus have risen at a rate not previously seen.

The Alabama Department of Public Health leaders said Alabama hospitals have been admitting significantly more COVID-19 patients recently, including patients who are younger, sicker and unvaccinated.

As a result, emergency rooms are being overwhelmed.

Alabama hospitals are asking people to only go to an emergency room for a true emergency and not for COVID-19 testing. Instead, those with less severe symptoms or minor injuries need to call their healthcare provider or go to an urgent care with minor needs.

Reserve emergency room use for more serious medical problems, such as heart attacks and strokes.

From ADPH: If you suspect you have COVID-19, the Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH) advises people who develop symptoms including the following to seek medical attention immediately:

  • Trouble breathing
  • Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
  • New confusion
  • Inability to wake or stay awake
  • Bluish lips or face

Please consult your medical provider for any other symptoms that are severe or concerning to you. Call 911 if you have a medical emergency. Notify the operator that you have or think you might have COVID-19. If possible, put on a mask or cloth face covering before medical help arrives.

The ADPH COVID-19 Table,, provides a list of COVID-19 testing sites. Please call the site for additional information before visiting.

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