Health professionals ask people with mild COVID-19 symptoms not to go to ER

Health professionals are urging folks with mild COVID-19 symptoms not to go to the emergency room unless it’s absolutely necessary.

LINCOLN, Neb. (KLKN) – The highly transmissible Omicron variant is emerging as the dominant variant in Nebraska.

Concerns about the virus have caused people to line up for COVID tests in the state and across the country. Health professionals are urging folks not to go to the emergency room unless it’s absolutely necessary .

“Unless you’re severely ill, please, please, do not go to an emergency room for COVID symptoms and especially not just to get tested,” Dr. Michael Schooff of CHI Health said.

What should Nebraskans do if they develop minor symptoms?

“When possible, isolate yourself, stay away from other people,” Schooff said. “When you have to be out among other people, your family members, if you absolutely have to go to the grocery store or something like that, making sure you’re wearing a mask.”

“You should definitely isolate for five days,” CHI Health infectious disease physician Dr. Renuga Vivekanandan said. “If you’re asymptomatic, or if your symptoms are resolving, no fevers, you’re getting better, then you can leave five-day isolation, but you have to wear a mask for another five days.”

CHI Health tells Channel 8 that 48% of recent ER patients have COVID-19 or COVID-like symptoms. That’s up from November and December, when 30% of patients were in the ER for COVID-related reasons.

“We need to save the emergency room capacity for people with true emergencies whether those are sick COVID patients, patients sick with other infectious illnesses, patients sick with other medical conditions, heart attacks, strokes, all of those sorts of things,” Schooff said.

Derek Vance, president at CHI Health St. Elizabeth says that a majority of patients are using the ER appropriately.

People with minor symptoms are encouraged to utilize primary care locations as a walk-in option.

For more information about COVID-19 testing options, click here.

Categories: Coronavirus, Health, Lancaster, Nebraska News