LEXINGTON, Ky. — Emergency doctors in Lexington are urging the public to use independent off site COVID-19 testing locations.

As the cases continue to increase in Fayette County, emergency rooms are seeing more people coming to their facilities for more than just emergencies. 

What You Need To Know

  • Emergency Departments are asking for people to use off site locations for COVID testing

  • Emergency doctors are saying emergency workers are overwhelmed

  • Doctors are emphasizing to use Emergency Departments if symptoms are severe

  • Oxygen levels below 90%, severe chest pain, and shortness of breath are some severe symptoms

Dr. Mark Spanier, in the emergency department at Baptist Health, is one of the many doctors in Lexington who is overwhelmed with the amount of patients in their hospitals.

“We are seeing more patients than we've seen in the past, and that puts a big stress on our emergency department. We're having to think outside the box where we're seeing patients in small rooms that we never utilized previously, sometimes in the hallway,” Spanier said.

Dr. Roger Humphries, chair of emergency medicine at the University of Kentucky, says their hospitals were busy before COVID, emphasizing that only patients with severe COVID symptoms should be going to the emergency room.

“We don't want you to stay at home with a stroke. We don't want you to stay at home with a heart attack. So I realize a lot of the symptoms can overlap but we do have to realize that even with COVID, all the other emergencies that we've dealt with throughout the years don't stop just because this virus has decided you know, is in our community,” Humphries said.

Dr. Spanier says oxygen levels below 90%, significant chest pain and shortness of breath, are considered severe symptoms and should seek medical attention right away. 

“Those are really good reasons for coming to the hospital. Whereas if you have a runny nose and congestion and aches and fatigue, such as what I have, then you should stay home and self monitor and set up an appointment for outpatient testing,” Spanier said.

With the high patient numbers, both Spanier and Humphries say doctors are getting burned out, and need people to use the independent COVID testing locations to keep the emergency rooms available for emergency situations.