Penn State Health: Hospital emergency departments should not be used for COVID-19 testing


(WHTM) — Penn State Health is advising the public to not visit hospital emergency departments for routine COVID-19 testing. This advisement comes after seeing an influx of patients, both those who are symptomatic and asymptomatic, seeking tests in ERs in Central Pa. and the Berks region.

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“People seeking COVID-19 tests at the emergency department when they are not sick place a tremendous burden on the medical staff’s ability to treat patients who need emergent care,” said Dr. Peter Dillon, chief clinical officer, Penn State Health. 

Instead, the health system suggests that those who are fully vaccinated and boosted and are feeling mild COVID symptoms should visit a family physician or an urgent care center for treatment.

For testing, those who are symptomatic can schedule a virtual appointment to discuss symptoms and determine whether testing is needed through Penn State Health’s OnDemand app; or, purchase an at-home test, which can be found at some drug stores; or, visit to find a testing site.

The current wait time in ERs across the Commonwealth are hours long due to high patient volumes.

“We are asking for the public’s help during this time of high demand for care by seeking the medical care they need from the most appropriate places, and only using their local emergency department for true emergent needs,” Dr. Dillon added.

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