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Northeast Ohio urgent care centers packed with COVID-19 patients

Published: Dec. 15, 2021 at 8:49 PM EST|Updated: Dec. 15, 2021 at 8:59 PM EST
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CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - With the rise in COVID-19 cases, Northeast Ohio hospitals aren’t the only places packed with patients. Express care centers are also overwhelmed and some are now limiting visits to COVID-19 care.

“We’re really hitting capacity,” said Dr. Christine Alexander, chair of family medicine with MetroHealth. “A good portion of the patients that we’re seeing and certainly the ones who are quite ill were the patients who had a COVID diagnosis.”

Between the rise in cases and the arrival of the new COVID-19 variant, Omicron, which is now here in Cleveland, Dr. Alexander says it’s unlikely for trend to stop anytime soon.

“As the winter comes, and we’re indoors, we are going to see more and more transmission,” she told 19 News.

That means other medical issues like the flu, your typical cold or even a broken bone might be put on the back burner by many.

“Our urgent care offices are pretty busy,” said Dr. Alexander.

The same is true at other healthcare system locations, including University Hospitals and Cleveland Clinic.

“We’re seeing a lot of people come in for COVID-19″, said Dr. Sean McNeeley, an urgent care doctor with University Hospitals.

Not every urgent care, though, is currently being concentrated on just COVID-19. There are still locations across our area accepting patients who are needing to be seen for other issues.

“If they aren’t sure or think they have something else, it is perfectly fine to come to an urgent care appointment or an urgent care center,” said Dr. Alexander.

But if you’re cautious of the crowds or are a bit wary, there are other options, like telehealth and virtual visits.

“You can call in and get seen and you don’t have to see anybody,” said. Dr. McNeeley.

Whether you see a doctor in person or online, the main message is to not wait to be seen by a medical professional, no matter the health issue.

“You can have a little bit of a cold that can become an pneumonia. You could have an pneumonia that could become an admission, so you definitely need to get seen,” said Dr. McNeeley.

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