Hospitals: Don’t use emergency rooms to get COVID-19 tests

By: - January 10, 2022 11:42 am
COVID-19 test swab and gloved hands testing demonstration

A COVID-19 test swab and gloved hands testing demonstration. (Prachatai | Flickr CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Wisconsin hospitals urged the public Monday not to go to hospital emergency rooms in search of a COVID-19 test.

Patients with COVID-19 and people with health emergencies such as stroke, heart attacks, injuries from car crashes and other urgent problems are already overwhelming hospital emergency rooms, according to the Wisconsin Hospital Association (WHA). In a statement issued Monday, WHA said that patients who go to an emergency room seeking routine COVID-19 tests “delay the provision of urgent care in emergency rooms, but also raise the risk of virus spread among medically vulnerable patients.”

The state Department of Health Services (DHS) has recommended that Wisconsin residents who wish to be tested for COVID-19 first consult their local health care provider. People seeking a test can also find a community testing site established for that purpose, often through the local health department

Free at-home tests are also available through DHS. Information on COVID-19 testing resources is available at the DHS testing website or by calling 2-1-1.

On Friday, DHS also announced it was recommending that children 12 to 15 years old should receive a single booster dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine. The announcement followed a recommendation from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

DHS also stated it was endorsing revised CDC guidance that fully vaccinated people should get a booster for the Pfizer or Moderna two-shot vaccine five months after their second shot. The new recommendation is one month sooner than the previous booster guidance. 


Our stories may be republished online or in print under Creative Commons license CC BY-NC-ND 4.0. We ask that you edit only for style or to shorten, provide proper attribution and link to our web site. Please see our republishing guidelines for use of photos and graphics.

Erik Gunn
Erik Gunn

Deputy Editor Erik Gunn reports and writes on work and the economy, health policy and related subjects, for the Wisconsin Examiner. He spent 24 years as a freelance writer for Milwaukee Magazine, Isthmus, The Progressive, BNA Inc., and other publications, winning awards for investigative reporting, feature writing, beat coverage, business writing, and commentary. An East Coast native, he previously covered labor for The Milwaukee Journal after reporting for newspapers in upstate New York and northern Illinois. He's a graduate of Beloit College (English Comp.) and the Columbia School of Journalism. Off hours he is the Examiner's resident Springsteen and Jackson Browne fanboy and model railroad nerd.