With covid cases on the rise across the state and county, Atlantic General Hospital officials are reiterating advice issued last week that people seeking rapid covid tests should not go to the emergency room or urgent care to get them.
“We are experiencing a heavy influx of patients seeking rapid COVID-19 tests to our Emergency Department and urgent care center,” said Sarah Yonker, the director of marketing at AGH, in an email Tuesday. “We’re asking that anyone who is seeking a rapid COVID-19 test to please visit their primary care provider or check with their local pharmacy for rapid COVID-19 testing.”
She added that the emergency room is for life-threatening issues and that anyone who has an issue that is not emergent should instead visit their primary care provider or nearest urgent care clinic.
The desire for tests comes on the heels of a growing surge in positive cases in both the vaccinated and unvaccinated. Yonker said last week that the number of people who are testing positive with mild symptoms, which is what the majority for vaccinated patients are experiencing, are likely sick with the omicron variant. However she said the number of serious cases have largely been attributed to the delta variant.
As of last week, Atlantic General had 13 covid inpatients, only three of whom were fully vaccinated, and the number has been gradually going up for the last few weeks. Statewide, the total number of covid patients in hospitals was 1,826 on Tuesday.
The Maryland Department of Health also started reporting county case rates again this week after going offline with the information for nearly a month. On Dec. 3, providers took down the running daily tally of state and county positivity rates in response to what they said was a fear of a data breach. The state’s case rates went back online last week and the county breakdowns showed up again on Monday.
In Worcester County, the case rate was 14.84 percent Tuesday, up significantly from 7.81 percent on Dec. 3, which was the last time the numbers were consistently reported. According to the data, the rate progressed gradually over the last few weeks.
Statewide, the case rate was 17.58 percent Tuesday.