JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Hospitals in the Jacksonville area are experiencing longer wait times to see a doctor in the emergency room because of the recent spike in COVID-19 patients requiring emergency care.
Some of the people waiting longer than an hour to see an emergency room doctor are people with injuries or illnesses that are not critical.
Jakeria Dominick told News4Jax that she waited two hours after she went to the ER with nerve pain but ended up leaving.
Tony Smith came to the ER after stepping on a rusty nail.
“We had to wait over two hours,” Smith said. “It was OK -- worth the wait because I needed this done.”
Baptist Health, as well as with other area hospitals, is warning the public to expect longer waits in the ER but says if your medical situation is critical, go to the ER because those cases must be handled immediately. Less critical conditions mean longer wait times -- which is why it may be better to go to a walk-in clinic. People with minor medical issues are encouraged to go to make an appointment with their primary physician.
But this surge in COVID-19 cases is not putting a strain on personal protective equipment the way it is putting a strain on available hospital beds.
“We’ve proactively stockpiled for both this surge and future surges, so, fortunately, we’re in really good shape,” said Phil Gaby, Baptist Health director of strategic sourcing.
UF Health Jacksonville, Memorial Hospital and Orange Park Medical Center are also reporting longer wait times in the ER but no problems with PPE supplies. While News4Jax was not able to get information on Flagler Hospital’s PPE status, hospital administrators did say they are seeing a growing number of COVID-19 patients and will start limiting hospital visitors to one visitor per patient.
Meanwhile, Ascension St. Vincent’s issued a statement that says: “Ascension St. Vincent’s has effectively implemented the appropriate phases of our surge plans, and as a result, we continue to safely maintain available capacity for individuals in need of care.”
News4Jax also reached out to Mayo Clinic and CareSpot.