Maryland hospitals seeing surge of residents looking for COVID-19 tests

Area emergency rooms are being overrun right now, but it’s not because of severe COVID-19 cases. According to doctors, it’s because people are showing up with mild symptoms looking for tests.

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"Unfortunately we’ve got too many people coming to hospital ER’s for COVID tests," Maryland Hospital Association President and CEO Bob Atlas told FOX 5.

"The number of patients coming in are just massive," explained Courtney Cortes, the director of nursing for the emergency department at Novant Health Presbyterian Medical Center.

Dr. Sam Elgawly, the Inova Health System director for clinical excellence and patient flow, also addressed the issue Wednesday, saying their emergency rooms saw record numbers on Monday and Tuesday. 

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"If I show up and I’m really sick and I need a nurse and a doctor to take care of me, but I have 15 patients who are thankfully doing ok but for example just need a test, there can be a skew in the ability to kind of rapidly take care of the person who actually I could really help versus the one who really just needs a swab," Elgawly said.

Instead, officials urge people to find a community testing site or a home test kit instead.

Atlas went so far as to say he hopes the Maryland National Guard will help because the state government is having personnel staff sites for tests.

"Having the National Guard help divert people to alternate sites for COVID tests will be extremely helpful," he said.


Elgawly also underscored the need for everyone to get vaccinated and boosted, adding that the vast majority of COVID-19 patients he’s seen show up at the ER and really need to be there, have not gotten their shots.