COVID-positive Vermonters with no symptoms clog up ERs

Published: Dec. 22, 2021 at 4:11 PM EST
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RUTLAND, Vt. (WCAX) - Some Vermonters who are able to find antigen tests and then test positive are clogging up emergency rooms.

The emergency department at the Rutland Regional Medical Center has been overwhelmed with asymptomatic folks.

Dr. Rick Hildebrant is RRMC’s medical director. He says some people who test positive with a rapid test go to the emergency room looking for a PCR test.

The Vermont Hospital Association says it’s hearing similar stories from other parts of the state.

Hildebrant says those who are asymptomatic and receive a positive antigen test should stay home and reach out to their primary care provider.

He says the only time to go to the ER is if you have a positive test and are very sick.

Hildebrant says the flood of asymptomatic people is preventing others in need of immediate care from getting it.

“It’s not so much the beds that are the precious resource, it’s the staff at this time. So we have to have some of our clinical staff providing care to those people and they can’t provide care to the folks in the ER,” Hildebrant explained.

Hildebrant says health department PCR testing is the best option for asymptomatic people, even though the results take a little longer.

He says by going to the emergency department, you are also potentially exposing yourself to someone with COVID who is very sick.

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