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MONDAY UPDATES: Hospitals urge Missourians to use emergency rooms for emergencies amid COVID-19 surge

KMIZ ABC 17 News
KMIZ ABC 17 News
 2022-01-24
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The Missouri Hospital Association is urging Missourians "to reserve emergency departments for emergency needs only in the weeks ahead" because of the extra strain on hospitals from record numbers of patients with COVID-19.

Patients suffering severe or life-threatening issues should use emergency rooms, but those who only need routine care such as coronavirus testing should "seek services in the appropriate environment," the association said in a news release. That includes testing sites, doctors' offices and pharmacies that sell COVID-19 tests.

"Unfortunately, the patient surge — from demand for COVID-19 testing and care, as well as other normal seasonal increases in hospital utilization — is causing hospital ED waiting rooms to fill up," Jon D. Doolittle, president and CEO of the association, said in the release. "This creates a bottleneck because every patient must be screened and treated under federal law, regardless of the seriousness of their condition. In an emergency, a patient should always seek ED care.”

Nearly 3,800 patients with coronavirus were being treated Thursday in Missouri hospitals. The number of COVID-19 patients in the state's hospitals remains higher than previous pandemic waves, including last winter's surge. Hospitals have delayed procedures and shuffled staff around to help meet the excess demand.

MU Health Care reported Monday that it is treating 117 patients with coronavirus . SSM-St. Mary's Hospital in Jefferson City said Friday that 36% of its patients have the coronavirus and 85% of those are not vaccinated against the virus.

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