Hospitals urge patients to avoid ER for minor issues as demand for COVID testing soars
BATON ROUGE - Baton Rouge area hospitals are urging people to avoid the emergency room for non-life-threatening issues amid a wave of patients seeking COVID-19 tests at their ER locations.
Baton Rouge General officials say they have seen an influx of patients with mild cold or flu-like symptoms that simply need a COVID test, increasing ER wait times and affecting staff's ability to care for other patients under more dire circumstances.
"The biggest issue is we need to stay open to take care of the sicker people and if we're overrun with people just needing to test, then it just ties up all the resources and we can't do the things we need to do efficiently," Dr. John Jones said.
The same thing is happening at Our Lady of The Lake locations.
"Our volumes coming through the emergency department that are COVID-related, as well as other disease processes that we're treating are massive. The ER's are being overrun, and we're having a hard time meeting the needs of the volume of patients that are coming into the emergency department," Dr. Stephen Hosea said.
Officials say that anyone needing a COVID test should use urgent cares, contact primary care doctors or visit one of the community testing sites that have been established by the Louisiana Department of Health.
Baton Rouge General offers testing through their Express Care clinics by appointment only due to high demand.