VDH urges those with mild COVID cases to recover at home

Published: Dec. 30, 2021 at 11:22 AM EST
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RICHMOND, Va. (WHSV) - As the omicron variant spreads and COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations increase, Virginia public health officials and hospital leaders are urging individuals with asymptomatic or mild coronavirus cases, or other non-serious illnesses, to avoid unnecessary trips to already burdened hospital emergency departments, and to get vaccinated if they have not already done so.

Hospitals across the state have recently experienced an influx of patients seeking emergency department care for asymptomatic or relatively mild COVID-19 infections, as well as cases of the flu or other seasonal illness, according to a Virginia Department of Health (VDH) press release.

In many cases, a hospital emergency department is not the appropriate venue for patients with mild to moderate COVID-19 symptoms to seek medical care, state health officials say.

Most individuals who contract COVID-19 do not need to visit the hospital’s emergency department and can effectively recover from their illness at home, or by seeking primary care treatment and/or speaking with their primary care provider.

People with severe COVID-19 symptoms such as significant difficulty breathing, intense chest pain, severe weakness, or an elevated temperature that persists for days unabated are among those who should consider seeking emergency medical care for their condition.

Individuals should not visit the emergency department if the symptoms of their illness are mild to moderate, including a cough, sore throat, runny nose, body aches or simply for the purpose of having a COVID-19 test administered.

VDH says unnecessary visits to hospital emergency departments place great strain on hospitals and the frontline healthcare workers who continue to bravely battle the pandemic.

These visits can also cause a delay in care for patients experiencing a true medical crisis and contribute to the depletion of finite resources including medical staff, testing kits, personal protective equipment and therapeutic treatments.

“More than 15,000 Virginians have died from COVID-19 during the course of this pandemic, and thousands have been hospitalized,” said State Health Commissioner M. Norman Oliver, M.D., M.A.  “The best defense against serious illness and hospitalization from COVID-19 is to get vaccinated. If you have not gotten vaccinated or boosted and are eligible, please do so now. Do it for yourself, your family, and your community, including the health care workers we depend on to be there when we truly need emergency care.”

Data continues to show that the majority of patients currently hospitalized in Virginia for COVID-19 care are unvaccinated, VDH officials report.

Click here to read the full release.

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