LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — Emergency rooms throughout the Las Vegas valley are filling up, but not for actual emergencies. Many people are turning to them for standard COVID-19 testing, and that has hospitals worried about what could happen if this does not stop.
“Patients do come to the ER to get tested, and that is probably not the best use of our emergency services,” said Dr. Marc Jeser, emergency room medical director at Summerlin Hospital.
Emergency rooms at Summerlin, Sunrise, and University Medical Center are all seeing overwhelming numbers of patients. It's not enough to turn anyone away, but they say it is of concern.
“A lot of them are just looking for an option to get tested, and they also just don’t know what to do when they think they are positive,” Jeser said. “Even when a test comes back positive, folks are showing up in the ER saying, ‘What do I do?’”
Rest, drink water, and isolation are what he recommends.
The Southern Nevada Health District is opening two new testing sites this week: at Texas Station on Wednesday and at Fiesta Henderson on Saturday, with hopes it will ease some of the demand.
“We try to keep walk-ins available, but that priority is going to be those that have scheduled appointments so that it allows them to go through the process efficiently and quickly,” said Kimberly Franich, communicable disease manager at SNHD. “Though we try to accept as many walk-ins as we can, it’s pretty limited right now.”
Doctors say if you are asymptomatic or having minor symptoms, you do not typically need hospitalization, and a needless visit could take away from someone else.
“Probably taking resources away from a patient who may really need it,” said Jeser. “If you do test positive for COVID, but you’re feeling sick with regular flu symptoms, the best thing I can recommend is to stay home.”