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With hospitalizations for COVID-19 at their highest point since January of this year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s COVID data tracker, some hospital systems are putting out the word that urgent care centers may be the best option for nonemergent complaints. WVU Medicine in West Virginia, for one, went to the local media to announce that patients with complaints like ear or throat pain, abdominal complaints and other similar issues should steer clear of hospitals. Dr. Chris Good, chair of the School of Medicine’s Department of Emergency Medicine, was quoted on WVME Metro News as saying unless patients have “a threat to limb or anything significant like a heart attack, stroke, or some surgical emergency” urgent care is the best place for them to go at this time. West Virginia has more patients in intensive care units across the state than at any other time since such records have been kept. According to the state department of health, 83.3% of patients hospitalized with COVID-19 are unvaccinated.

How Bad Is the COVID-19 Surge? Hospitals Are Suggesting Patients Visit Urgent Care Instead of the ED