YUMA, Ariz. (KYMA, KECY) - With another national surge in COVID-19 cases within the last few weeks, hospital emergency departments nationwide and in Yuma are once again seeing an influx in triage areas.
While some emergency room patients require care following a positive COVID-19 test, depending on their symptoms many patients are better off waiting it out before coming down here to the emergency room (ER).
Dave Jackson, an ER physician assistant, works with so many who come thru the ER doors.
“It's important to remember that covid-19 is a virus, similar to the flu and the common cold. So, you may have a runny nose cough body aches fatigue, but really when you start feeling difficulty with your ability to breathe, is when you should come to the er. Right. If you're having more of those common cold type symptoms, it may be okay to wait that out at home,” Jackson said.
This guidance comes as the hospital experiences an increased number of people coming in for various reasons including COVID.
Yuma Regional Medical Center (YRMC) says to look for emergency warning signs such as trouble breathing.
“Breathing is a big thing. If you're unable to talk in a full sentence, or walk across the room without feeling severely short of breath. Those are signs that we'd want you to come in for,” Jackson added.
More symptoms include persistent pain or pressure in your chest, signs of new confusion, not being able to sleep or wake up, or even bluish lips or face.
“When people stay here at the hospital, we're giving them supportive measures to help their own immune system beat the virus, right. So, if your body's handling the virus well, you can stay at home,” he said.
If you test positive for COVID-19 and you aren’t experiencing any of those warning signs, the best thing to do is quarantine and treat symptoms at home.
According to YRMC, treating a mild case of coronavirus with rest, hydration, and anti-inflammatory medications are recommended.
For those who are experiencing other medical conditions not related to COVID-19, Jackson points out some emergent scenarios.
“If you were experiencing concerning signs or symptoms especially of a stroke, like facial drooping or changes in your speech or weakness, or if you're experiencing chest pain. Come in, because those are concerning symptoms that we would like to evaluate and make sure that nothing serious is going on,” Jackson explained.
As far as alleviating vital emergency personnel resources, this will ensure that the hospital can take care of everyone that comes in.
Now, this is not to discourage you from coming to the ER, but treating those with more severe symptoms is top of mind for the hospital.