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UVA doctors say you should not rely on emergency rooms for COVID-19 tests

COVID-19 Rapid Test
COVID-19 Rapid Test(Louisiana Department of Health)
Published: Jan. 2, 2022 at 9:07 PM EST
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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - Many people are struggling to find a COVID-19 test with cases on the rise, however doctors are asking people to not look for one in the emergency room.

“There’s a lot of people who are interested in understanding whether the symptoms that they have are omicron or COVID or not,” UVA epidemiologist, Dr. Costi Sifri said.

With pharmacies struggling to meet demand for at-home tests and testing sites filling up, some people have turned to the ER.

“The emergency room is not a place to get a test. It’s really a place where people need medical attention because they have significant needs,” Sifri said.

Dr. Patrick Jackson, a UVA infection disease physician, says he understands people are making the choice to get tested in the ER out of desperation, yet he still discourages it.

“Unfortunately, doing testing for folks who may not have a real medical emergency can reduce resources that are available for people who may need to see a doctor,” Jackson said.

Sifri says the availability of rapid antigen tests in local pharmacies can take some time to find, but it is still the best decision.

He says this will result in not further overworking hospital systems.

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