Emergency Rooms feel strain of COVID-19 surge

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala — The Alabama Department of Public Health is asking Alabamians not to go to emergency rooms unless their condition is urgent.

The ADPH says hospital emergency rooms are filling up across the state as COVID-19 patients continue to steam in, and hospital resources are being further stretched to their limit by non-urgent cases. Many of those cases include people with minor injuries and those coming in for COVID-19 testing with symptoms that are not severe.

State health officials say the surge in COVID-19 hospitalizations is increasing at a rate that Alabama has yet to see before. While Doctors stress that it’s still important for people to get tested for COVID-19, they say patients exhibiting less severe symptoms or with minor injuries should instead reach out to their doctor or head to an urgent care center.

The ADPH says they want to reserve emergency room visits for those who are facing true emergencies, which include heart attacks, strokes, other serious medical problems, and the growing number of severe COVID-19 patients. Right now Huntsville Hospital says it’s seeing more and more COVID-19 patients who are unvaccinated and younger and sicker than ever before.

“You know this delta variant is so much more contagious, and so we’re seeing a lot more people that haven’t had vaccines come in that are very sick and we’re not talking about people that are older. I admitted a guy the other day who was in his twenties, who had not been vaccinated, and came in very hypoxic, struggling to breathe and he was at the point that we were worried we were going to have put him on a ventilator,” said Dr. Sherrie Squyres, Director of the Huntsville Hospital Emergency Department.

Dr. Squyres says many of these cases could be prevented if people were to get a COVID-19 vaccine.

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