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Lexington hospitals overwhelmed with COVID-19 patients

Emergency rooms at Lexington hospitals are overwhelmed with a surge of COVID-19 cases. Physicians are asking people with mild symptoms to get tested elsewhere.
WUKY's Arlo Barnette reports.

On a Tuesday Zoom call, emergency department chair Dr. Roger Humphries said about half of the people coming into UK Healthcare’s EDs are testing positive for COVID.

Baptist Health Lexington is still postponing elective surgeries that require an overnight stay. Kentucky National Guard members are expected there on Friday to help handle the surge. To reduce delays in care for more critical patients, ED medical director Dr. Mark Spanier had this advice.

"If you feel like you're having something significant - chest pain, your shortness of breath is moderate to severe - those are really good reason for coming to the hospital. Whereas, if you have a runny nose and congestion and aches and fatigue, then you should stay home and self-monitor and set up an appointment for outpatient testing."
Dr. Mark Spanier, medical director of the emergency department at Baptist Health Lexington

Spanier says outpatient testing options like WildHealth are free and relatively fast, in contrast to the emergency department.

The doctors said with the majority of cases assumed to be the Omicron variant, cases are especially mild for vaccinated and boosted patients.