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SWFL emergency departments experience longer wait times

Posted at 12:37 AM, Jan 06, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-06 06:33:30-05

NAPLES, Fla. — Local health officials say more people are showing up in the ER with COVID cases on the rise in Southwest Florida.

Dr. David Lindner, medical director for the COVID-19 response team at NCH Health, said people are visiting the ER for a bunch of different reasons.

He said at NCH wait times go up and down. Usually, during the morning hours the wait times are short. In the afternoon people can expect a longer wait.

“We are seeing ... a lot of people who are now having upper respiratory tract infections. They are panicky. They can’t necessarily get testing at Walgreens, CVS at their pharmacy because tests are in short supply and so they then present to the emergency department," Dr. Lindner said.

Fox 4 also spoke with Lee Health. Officials there say emergency room wait times are four to five hours on average, which is longer than usual.

Lee Health said it’s important for people to know that the ER is not a designated testing site and if people have mild COVID symptoms. They should seek testing at community locations.

On Tuesday, Lee Health emergency departments saw 1,185 patients. Before the omicron surge, hospital leaders said Lee Health was averaging 900 patients per day.