Skip to Content

COVID-19's Impact on Hospital Emergency Care

Exterior of LMC Emergency Department Entrance

Aug. 30 2021

Patients seeking care in emergency departments can expect longer wait times due to the high number of COVID-19 cases. Clayton Carter, MD, an emergency medicine physician at Lexington Medical Center, sat down with WLTX to discuss the recent surge of COVID-19 and when people need to seek care. 

Dr. Carter says emergency department volumes are about 15 percent higher than normal due to the COVID-19 surge. But, that increased volume doesn't tell the whole story. Hospital stays for non-COVID medical care usually last only 2 -3 days. Patients with COVID-19 often require hospitalization for weeks, resulting in less available hospital beds and longer wait times to get one. 

Dr. Carter notes that patients requiring hospitalization in this surge are much younger due to the Delta variant. The hospital has admitted many patients in their 20s and 30s during the recent surge. 

Even vaccinated individuals can experience a "breakthrough" case of COVID-19, though their likelihood of experiencing severe symptoms requiring hospitalization are greatly diminished. 

Early symptoms of COVID-19 infection are similar to those of the flu, including  fever, headache, sore throat and runny nose, nausea and diarrhea. Later, people may lose their sense of taste and smell. 

If symptoms worsen and individuals experience shortness of breath, chest pain or dehydration, they should be evaluated at an emergency department. 

Dr. Carter urges the community to talk with their doctor about getting a COVID-19 vaccine, saying "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure."

Load more comments
Thank you for the comment! Your comment must be approved first

Newsletter Updates

Get our email newsletter updates.

Disclaimer: This blog is intended for general understanding and education about Lexington Medical Center. Nothing on the blog should be considered or used as a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Blog visitors with personal health or medical questions should consult their health care provider.