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Mercy Health walk-in clinics quickly filling up with COVID-19 patients

Hospital beds and emergency rooms are already overloaded with COVID-19 patients. Now, it's beginning to impact urgent cares and walk-in clinics too.

TOLEDO, Ohio — Dr. Cathy Cantor with Mercy Health said the hospital is seeing a lot of traffic coming through the walk-in right now.

"We are seeing an uptick in our COVID cases. Again, that can present a spectrum of symptoms, from mild fatigue to mild cough to being severely short of breath," she explained. "So, we're seeing kind of the whole spectrum of COVID again."

The majority of walk-ins come in to be tested for COVID-19. But others just think it's a regular cold or allergies and are surprised to learn they've tested positive. 

Cantor said because emergency rooms, urgent care departments and walk-in clinics are being bombarded with patients right now, it's best if you re-evaluate your symptoms to see just how severe they are.

"The first call should always be to your primary care physician or pediatrician. They know you the best. They know your story, They know your history," she explained. "If you can at all possible get in with your primary care physician or pediatrician, that's your most optimal situation."

Cantor said the second place you can go to is urgent care or a walk-in clinic.

Your last resort should then be the emergency room. If these departments become too busy, it can set everything back.

"Then it will back up other modalities. [It] backs up labs, backs up X-ray and radiology depending on where that volume is going," explained Cantor. "And ultimately as we're seeing across the country, you're going to get burn out of the health care workers."

Cantor said depending on how the new variant plays out, we could see drive-thru testing clinics come back.

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