Local emergency departments overworked with COVID-19 surge

Local News

SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – Local emergency medical services (EMS) are asking people to only call 911 for emergencies, as they say they are overworked with responding to COVID-19.

As COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations continue to rise, local EMS officials say they are being stretched to the limit.

“The entire healthcare system is saturated and we are asking that 911 be reserved for emergencies only,” Chatham County EMS said in a release. “Sore throats, minor skin ailments, wrist pain, earaches, etc. are best treated by a primary care physician or urgent care.”

Chatham County EMS is asking people to reserve 911 for “life or death situations.”

Bulloch County EMS also says its resources are stretched thin. Three to five probable COVID patients are being transported to hospitals daily, according to Bulloch County EMA Director Ted Wynn.

Local doctors say they are seeing an increase in patients with few or no COVID symptoms coming in to hospitals for a test.

“If you have symptoms and you’re worried about your health that our ER is always open to take care of you,” said Dr. Stephen Thacker, associate chief medical officer of Memorial Health. “But if you’re just looking for testing, it’ll help our ER’s and our region if you look to your primary care doctor, our DPH partners, the civic center or any of the urgent cares that are available for rapid testing as well.”

The Coastal Health District is testing more than 700 people daily, according to director Dr. Lawton Davis. The increased demand is overwhelming some local test sites.

To find locations to get a COVID-19 test, click here.

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