Omaha area residents asked to not go to local hospital ERs for COVID tests

(Omaha, NE) -- CHI Health is asking those needing a COVID-19 test to not go to local emergency rooms to get tested.

The Test Nebraska program ended in July, leaving residents looking for other places to get a coronavirus test, especially as cases continue to rise. Denise McNitt, VP of patient care services for CHI Health, said Thursday afternoon that in the past several weeks, an increasing number of patients in the emergency room are looking for COVID-19 tests. She says many of them have minimal to no symptoms and that at times, it’s interfering with patient triage and care for more serious and even urgent medical needs.

Last week, McNitt said, as many as 30% of those heading to their emergency rooms were looking to get tested for COVID-19. She says testing is still very important, vaccinated or not, as “we’re seeing a much more intense spread," but that in addition to bogging down the system, it's also more expensive to get tested at an ER.

Nomi Health has free testing centers at Oak View Mall and at Mid-America Center in Council Bluffs, while many pharmacies, doctor's offices and urgent care centers can also conduct testing.

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