Wisconsin Hospital Association Urges People Not To Visit Emergency Rooms For COVID-Tests
If you're in need of a quick COVID-19 test, the Wisconsin Hospital Association urges you to look somewhere other than your local emergency room.
As the Omicron variant of COVID-19 becomes widespread and cases continue to rise, there has been a push for the need for people to get tested. Many workplaces are requiring negative tests for employees who have been out sick before they can come back to work. And - many people just have a general want and need to know what their COVID-19 status is.
Unfortunately, many have been seeking those COVID-19 tests at their neighborhood emergency rooms. And while it's true that an emergency room will generally see patients who walk in off the street - without at appointment, doing so just for a COVID-19 test puts an unnecessary drain on resources. That drain couldn't come at a more inconvenient time for the healthcare industry.
The Wisconsin Hospital Association explains it's current situation:
"Emergency rooms throughout the state are under extreme stress due to surging COVID-19 cases as well as regular, seasonal increases in demand for medical services. Patients seeking COVID-19 tests at hospitals not only delay the provision of urgent care in emergency rooms, but also raise the risk of virus spread among medically vulnerable patients."
In other words, hospital emergency rooms are serious medical issues like "strokes, heart attacks, motor vehicle accidents, (among) other ailments". While you might want or need a fast-turn around on a COVID-19 test, unless there are other mitigating medical issues associated with that test and it's result, it's not an emergency.
The Wisconsin Hospital Association points out that there are plenty of other sources available in the community for patients who are looking for a COVID-19 test. Here are three pieces of advice that they offer as advised by the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS):
- Contact your doctor or physician to see if your primary care clinic provides testing
- Seek testing from a free community testing site near you
- Request a free at home collection kit from the Wisconsin Department of Health Services
To get more information about where to seek out a COVID-19 test in Wisconsin, visit the DHS website. You can also call 211.
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