Under capacity pressures, Minnesota hospitals discourage seeking COVID-19 testing at EDs

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Minnesota Hospital Association leaders on Jan. 7 urged the public to not seek COVID-19 testing at emergency departments or urgent care centers.

The plea comes as several hospitals experience an influx of patients at EDs.  

"We have run out of words to describe what we are undergoing — a crisis does not even come close; hospitals are literally full. We urgently need the public's help to keep our emergency departments available for medical emergencies," the association said in a news release. 

Instead of seeking testing at EDs or urgent care centers, residents are encouraged to seek testing at a state testing site or use a home test kit.

"The care capacity throughout all of Minnesota is severely limited — ICUs are full, emergency departments are full, medical-surgical units are full, hallways are full and surgeries are being canceled," the association said. "To continue to serve the high volume of patients that need care for strokes, heart attacks, emergency surgeries, motor vehicle accidents and COVID-19, we need your help now."

New daily COVID-19 hospitalization rates in the U.S. have risen 65 percent over the last 14 days, according to HHS data tracked by The New York Times. On Jan. 7, the Minnesota Department of Health reported 112 statewide COVID-19 hospitalizations the week ending Jan. 1. 

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