ER doctors report high traffic amid pandemic, ask some to see general practitioners first

Local News

LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — As COVID-19 cases continue to spread across Las Vegas, medical professionals told 8 News Now some people are asking for tests at local emergency rooms, even if they’re not really sick. 

“We’ve definitely seen more traffic coming in the emergency rooms in the last couple of weeks,” HCA Healthcare Far West Division Chief Medical Officer Joe Corcoran said. “A lot of them are concerned that they might have coronavirus and they might actually have the flu.”

Dr. Cororan described what he’s seen on Thursday, as he urged people who don’t need severe medical attention to avoid emergency rooms if possible. 

“It takes us away from taking care of the people who have chest pain,” he explained. “Or have real medical emergencies.”

He said while symptoms can overlap with other sicknesses, extreme fevers of 103-104 degrees and shortness of breath are usually signs of COVID-19. 

“Of course patients who have heart disease, diabetes, lung disease, need to be extra special careful,” he added. 

Therefore, anyone who’s showing mild symptoms or simply feeling under the weather, should visit a general practitioner first. 

“Most patients who get coronavirus can be very well taken care of at home,” Dr. Corcoran explained. “And the first stop should be your urgent care center or your family doctor.”

This allows Las Vegas emergency rooms to focus on serving those who need them most. 

“Keep in mind, emergency rooms are really for the sickest of the sick,” he concluded.

Doctor Corcoran also said though a lot of people ask for COVID-19 tests for peace of mind, they should be reserved for those who are showing symptoms or have been exposed to the virus. 

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