PHOENIX – Full hospitals, overwhelmed emergency rooms and urgent care clinics turning away clients are all part of the latest surge of COVID-19 across the country.
The problem is that people come in with severe symptoms and struggle to be seen because the ER is so overcrowded. According to some health experts, some people in the emergency room could easily be treated at home.
“Right now we are seeing a spike in hospital occupancy similar to what we saw during our biggest spike. And some would say there are fewer beds available now,” Dr Frank Lovecchio said. .
Dr. Lovecchio says more than half of people who come to the emergency room right now are there with COVID-like symptoms, and wait times are several hours long.
“We know that omicron is very contagious. We think it gives you milder symptoms, but a smaller percentage of a large number is still a very large number of people coming to the hospital,” said the Dr. Frank Lovecchio.
In many cases, Dr. Lovecchio says, these milder COVID cases can easily be treated at home, and unless someone has severe respiratory symptoms, it’s really best to avoid the hospital.
“Right now, it’s not the best place to be, the hospital,” Dr. Lovecchio said. “You’re going to have a long wait. Surgery, you’re going to have a long wait. So what I’m trying to tell people is to get vaccinated, to do a booster, to try to avoid people who have the omicron variant .”
Dr. Lovecchio explains that for people with mild symptoms of COVID-19, the best thing to do is speak with their primary care physician, who can refer them.
“If you have any respiratory symptoms or co-morbidity, please come to the hospital. If you have almost no symptoms, have a runny nose and cough and are breathing relatively well, we’re probably not going to not do much for you in the hospital,” Dr. Lovecchio said.
Dr. Lovecchio says this spike in hospitalizations should be over in a few months.
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Symptoms of the COVID-19 coronavirus include fever, cough and shortness of breath. These, of course, are similar to colds and flu.
Expect a cold to start with a sore or scratchy throat, cough, runny nose and/or stuffy nose. Flu symptoms are more intense and usually come on suddenly, and may include high fever.
Symptoms of COVID-19 may appear more slowly. They typically include fever, a dry cough, and noticeable shortness of breath, according to the World Health Organization. A minority of cases develop pneumonia, and the disease is particularly worrisome for older people and those with other medical conditions such as high blood pressure, obesity, diabetes or heart problems.
RELATED: Is it the flu, a cold or COVID-19? Different viruses show similar symptoms
CDC website for COVID-19
https://espanol.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html (In Spanish/En Español)
AZDHS website for COVID-19
https://www.azdhs.gov/preparedness/epidemiology-disease-control/infectious-disease-epidemiology/es/covid-19/index.php#novel-coronavirus-home (in Spanish/in Spanish)
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