LOUISVILLE, Ky. — By midday Tuesday, some of Norton Healthcare's immediate care clinics listed wait times for walk-ins above 10 hours. Dr. Mary Rademaker blames the surge of COVID-19 cases. Rademaker, the executive director of Norton Immediate Care Centers and Norton Prompt Care, said the clinics have served a record number of patients, about 70% of which are treated or tested for coronavirus. 

"I'm not gonna sugarcoat it. It's very, very challenging right now," Rademaker said. 

What You Need To Know

  • There are much longer wait times than usual at Louisville area clinics, due to the surge in demand for COVID-19 testing and treatment 

  • Doctors hope this won't negatively impact emergency rooms, urging people not to visit the ER except for in life-threatening situations

  • Dr. Mary Rademaker called the crowd of patients clinics are serving the "highest patient volumes per day in the entire history of the immediate care centers"

  • Norton Healthcare is working to ramp-up its testing drive-thru site once again

Norton Healthcare is working to ramp-up its testing drive-thru site once again, she said. The express location on Breckinridge Lane will soon offer a lane just for kids. There was a steady flow of traffic there Tuesday afternoon and appointments are necessary.

Elsewhere at walk-in clinics, the online map displayed the dilemma Rademaker said staff is facing: "A flood of patients like we've never ever seen before."

For example, the wait time to see a doctor in Clarksville as of 12:23 p.m. read: 674 minutes. The wait time at the Tyler Village clinic read: 411 minutes.

Rademaker advised people in need to come early and have their place in line held, so they can then wait at home and be notified of their turn by text. Otherwise, she recommended Norton telehealth services. She urged people not to rush emergency rooms unless absolutely necessary. There have already been issues with that, she explained.

"We definitely see people go to emergency room because they've had a sore throat for just a half day," she said.

Spectrum News 1 also checked in UofL Health Tuesday, who reported long clinic wait times as well. A spokesperson said the crowds can amount to a five hour wait or longer. They're prioritizing those patients who need a doctor's care, aside from COVID testing.