Hospital emergency rooms across Hampton Roads feeling surge of COVID-19 patients

COVID-19 hospital nurse
Posted at 2:34 PM, Dec 29, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-29 18:51:54-05

HAMPTON ROADS, Va. - The number of COVID-19 cases are staggering as more than 12,000 new cases were reported in our state on Wednesday alone, according to the VDH.

One month ago -- just over 900 people were hospitalized with COVID-19 in the Commonwealth and as of Wednesday, more than 2,000 were hospitalized. This according to the Virginia Hospital and Health Care Association.

"I would say its more than its ever been ," said Shane Squires, Emergency Department Manager with Sentara Norfolk General Hospital.

The ER at SNGH is slammed and shattering records.

"Historically speaking Monday's after Holidays are huge for emergency rooms and this Monday was special, we broke the record that we have seen in this ED well as other emergency departments," said Squires.

According the the Sentara COVID-19 dashboard, 143 people are hospitalized with the virus across the six Southside hospitals -- not including those being seen daily in the emergency room.

"Wait times are increasing, in past couple of weeks because of volumes," said Squires.

On the Peninsula at the Riverside Health System Emergency rooms, much of the same.

"Two and half weeks ago there were 20 people in health system with COVID, now we are approaching 75 patients hospitalized with it," said Dr. Michael Dacey, President and CEO of Riverside Health System.

Tests to even confirm a positive case is also a new concern.

"We are very concerned testing supplies will become even shorter availability in coming weeks," said Dacey.

Dacey says 75 percent of those being admitted for COVID-19 are unvaccinated.

"We are asking people save emergency medicine capability of region for people that will benefit the most , risk factors and immune compromised ," said Dacey.

Both hospitals advice, head to the ER if you symptoms are severe, or if you have pre-exsisting conditions or are immuno-compromised, otherwise treat yourself at home and quarantine if symptoms are mild.

"If you feel like you can manage this at home with Tylenol or Motrin try that first if you possible can," said Squires.

As far as getting a COVID-19 test at the emergency room, the doctors we spoke to said that just further inundates the system - so its best to head to testing site, test at home or go to your primary care doctor.