TAMPA, Fla. — Tampa General Hospital urges people to not go to the emergency department to get a COVID-19 test.
Dr. Peggy Duggan, Executive Vice President and Chief Medical Officer at Tampa General Hospital, said people should go to a testing site or urgent care center for a test.
"If you’re feeling symptomatic, get tested if you’re worried about having COVID, get tested so that you can isolate yourself from others and not spread the disease," said Dr. Peggy Duggan.
Dr. Duggan said 90 patients are hospitalized at Tampa General Hospital for COVID-19. Tampa General said 12 patients are in an intensive care unit.
Dr. Duggan said about 25% of patients hospitalized had arrived at the hospital for another reason, but tested positive. The hospital screens patients during admissions.
"There's some incidental COVID so like I fractured my hip and I come in and get admitted through the emergency department and I just happen to be COVID positive because it’s just so prevalent in the community right now," explained Dr. Duggan.
Students across the Tampa Bay area return to school this week after winter break. Doctors encourage students to get vaccinated if they are eligible and wear a mask. They also encourage everyone in the household to get vaccinated.
"We're bracing for more, unfortunately, we hope most cases are mild, but we are going to have to brace for the fact that with this disease being so widespread, we are necessarily going to see more of it," said Dr. Allison Messina, Chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases at Johns Hopkins All Children's Hospital in St. Petersburg.
"We always see a lot more respiratory infections even pre-COVID in the few weeks after kids come back from Christmas break so I think we’re going to see that again," added Dr. Messina.
Dr. Duggan also encourages vaccinations. She said patients in the hospital's intensive care unit have not been vaccinated.
"Our patients who have had both vaccines and been boosted almost have no symptoms from omicron so they may be infectious, but have no symptoms and they’re infectious for a lesser span of time so it’s still the most important thing we can do. Anyone who is eligible for their booster now should really go get it," said Dr. Duggan.