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Huntsville Hospital: Don't come to ER for COVID testing unless you need emergent care

The hospital system has already restricted its visitation policies and canceled in-patient elective surgeries as COVID hospitalizations continue to rise.

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — Huntsville Hospital on Wednesday issued an urgent message asking people to not visit the emergency department for COVID-19 testing or for symptoms that do not require emergency care.

"We are seeing record numbers of patients with COVID symptoms come to the ER, which is resulting in significantly longer wait times for all patients, including those with other medical emergencies," the hospital system said in its notice.

"If you are experiencing non-life threatening COVID symptoms such as a sore throat and stuffy nose, please stay home. Consider contacting your primary care doctor or an urgent care clinic if you need treatment for cold symptoms or non-life threatening COVID symptoms."

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The hospital system has already restricted its visitation policies and canceled in-patient elective surgeries as COVID hospitalizations continue to rise. The system reported 212 COVID-19 inpatients system-wide on January 4.

On January 5, the Alabama Department of Public Health reported the state has a 7-day moving percentage of positivity in COVID testing of 41%. As of January 5, there have been 16,503 reported COVID-19 cases in Alabama.

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