ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Hospitals all over New Mexico are warning residents that if they need care, be prepared to wait. This is due to the overwhelming spread of the omicron variant.

To make matters worse, hospital staff are seeing patients come through their doors that don’t need to be there. UNMH officials say their beds are full and if you’re coming there you could be taken care of in a hallway or a waiting room and that’s after a nearly six-hour estimated wait time if you don’t have a severe illness.

Right now, officials are asking for the public’s help to not overwhelm hospitals. There are a few key things they are recommending, starting with going to the right facility based on your needs.

If you are experiencing chest pains or having trouble breaking or are extremely sick, the ER is there for you. However, in most cases, officials say you can go to your primary care doctor or receive care online through a virtual visit.

They are also not providing COVID testing for people coming in with mild symptoms. In a recent social media post, UNMH told the public that their emergency room is not a COVID testing site.


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“It really is a situation where for each patient that needs care, you have to think very carefully about how you can provide that in the situation that we’re in,” said Dr. Steve McLaughlin with the Department of Emergency Medicine at UNMH.

Officials say there are plenty of other places to go get COVID testing that doesn’t involve putting extra people in the waiting room. Anyone just looking for a COVID test will be turned away.

At-home tests are hard to come by right now but officials are saying if you can make an appointment at a testing site to do so. To find a testing location near you, visit cvprovider.nmhealth.org.