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Hospital officials urge people not to go the emergency room for COVID testing

Published: Jan. 7, 2022 at 10:29 PM CST
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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) - With the increase in COVID-19 cases, Hospital officials are urging people not to go to the emergency room unless they are in the middle of a true emergency.

Right now, in Madison County, there are 133 positive COVID-19 patients at Huntsville Hospital.

President and Chief Operating Officer Tracy Doughty says 15 of those patients are in the ICU, and five are on the ventilator.

He says numbers have increased by 33 patients since Monday.

“We do know that the omicron variant is dominant in Alabama and here in Madison County, and it is highly contagious and easy to spread. The positivity rate in the state is about 42 percent and 40 percent in Madison County,” said Doughty.

Doughty says the hospital has seen a huge increase in people coming to the emergency room with covid symptoms and looking for testing.

As a result, he says wait times have been longer and suggests that anyone with nonlife-threatening COVID symptoms should contact their primary care provider.

“If you are short of breath, have strokes, or heart attacks, you can most definitely come to the ER, but we just want to reduce some of the volume,” said Doughty.

Health leaders at Marshall Medical Centers are having similar issues in the ER. A spokesperson says they are starting to see cases spike back up. Currently, there are 21 positive covid patients at both campuses.

Most importantly, Doughty says the hospital is equipped with enough staff to serve the community.

“Our staff works very hard to make sure that the community is protected, and we have nurses, doctors, working overtime, night side, dayside, and weekends to make sure we have enough staff here,” said Doughty.

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