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Our hospitals are being overwhelmed; You can help

Published: Sep. 15, 2021 at 6:23 PM PDT
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RENO, Nev. (KOLO) - More than a year and a half of battling the pandemic, dealing with successive waves of infections, and now seeing the unvaccinated crowding their emergency rooms has left those on the front lines exhausted and concerned.

Last week an open letter to the community signed by emergency physicians, nurses, paramedics and others asked warned they were being overwhelmed. Wednesday, the Nevada Hospital Association noting the situation is especially serious here in the north, issued a plea asking for the public’s help.

The health care system--it said--is at capacity and that’s potentially everyone’s problem.

“People are still having strokes. People are still having heart attacks. People are still getting in major accidents and require care,” said Dr. Jenny Wilson, Medical Director of the Emergency Medicine Department at St. Mary’s Medical Center and one who signed the open letter last week. ”It’s affecting every single person in the community who might need care for an injury or illness.”

So, the association said the public can help by first making wise decisions about their own health. That begins with getting vaccinated and wearing a mask.

“We need people to get vaccinated or it’s going to be an even bigger catastrophe than it already is,” says Dr. Wilson.

It also means leaving the emergency room for genuine emergencies, going elsewhere for COVID testing and the kind of care that could be handled in a doctor’s office or at an urgent care center.

“If you are sick, we will take care of you,” said Dr. Wilson. “That’s what we went into health care to do. However if your condition could be treated at urgent care, if your condition could be treated by your primary care provider, if you could get a telehealth appointment, please opt for that. We need to preserve our resources for those who need them.”

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