Amidst the spread of the omicron variant of the coronavirus pandemic, appointments for testing have been packed – with some waiting hours to receive a test – with the Ocean County Health Department reporting no available slots for testing Wednesday.
The county health department hosts testing at Ocean County College certain days per week, and until recently demand had been relatively minimal. The next available slot for a test at the college was Jan. 5, 2022, the agency’s website reported.
Meanwhile, hospitals were urging local residents to avoid going to the emergency room if they are not experiencing any serious symptoms of the virus. On Monday, many hospital emergency departments were on divert status – not particularly unusual, but unusual in the number of hospitals experiencing a surge at the same time.
“The emergency room should not be your primary destination if you are looking for a COVID test and have mild to moderate symptoms,” Hackensack-Meridian Health said in a statement. The company urged people to go to an emergency room if they experience symptoms that warrant immediate medical attention, including:
- Trouble breathing.
- Persistent pain or pressure in the chest.
- New confusion or inability to arouse.
- Bluish lips or face.
The list “is not all inclusive,” however, and the company advised patients to contact their physician with questions.