Pembroke Pines, Florida – Memorial Health Care created a new policy on Wednesday, as administrators try to keep emergency rooms from getting overwhelmed.
Long lines at testing sites and sold-out at-home testing kits at drug stores have people heading to the emergency rooms to get tested, putting stress on health care facilities.
According to Dr. Mark Napp, Memorial Healthcare System’s Chief Medical Officer, it’s difficult to tell people where they should go to get tested right now, but he knows crowded emergency rooms do a disservice to everyone.
“It’s really not good for the public because when the public shows up in the emergency room with something more severe that does need our attention, the emergency department’s crowded with people waiting for test results, etcetera,” said Napp.
The federal government plans to open more testing sites.
“We’re looking for additional supplies, we’re looking for additional testing sites, should they be made available,” said Broward County Mayor Michael Udine.
As of Wednesday night, there are 327 COVID patients hospitalized in Miami-Dade County and 229 COVID patients hospitalized in Broward County.
Doctors said many of those numbers are incidental COVID cases.
“In other words, a woman comes in pregnant and has to deliver and happens to have COVID,” said Napp.
According to President Biden, 500 million home kits will be available, free and on request, in a few weeks.
He also announced 10,000 new testing sites to come online soon.
“That’s in January,” said Biden in the interview. “The expectation is the rapid tests will start going out in the beginning of January because they’re being produced now.”
“Really upsetting is that we’re just at the beginning of it,” said Kendall Regional Medical Center’s Dr. Murtaza Ahkter. “There’s a lot more to go. People are going to be mingling during Christmas, especially in a place like Miami, where the airports have been jam-packed and hospitalizations are going to surge even worse, so it’s actually a pretty stressful scenario.”