Michigan health dept.: Avoid emergency rooms unless situation is life-threatening as COVID overwhelms system – WDIV ClickOnDetroit

Michigan health officials are urging residents to avoid the emergency department at hospitals, outside of a life-threatening situation, to help alleviate pressure on health care systems as COVID continues to surge.

Michigan COVID-19-related hospitalizations are currently at an all-time high. Hospital leaders have been asking residents to take extra precaution against COVID spread as capacity dwindles at many local hospitals, including Beaumont and Henry Ford.

Related: 6 takeaways: Henry Ford Health officials say Michigan’s current COVID ‘crisis’ worse than a year ago


Michigan’s health care systems continue to be overburdened with COVID-19 patients, a majority of which are unvaccinated. From Jan. 15 – Dec. 3, 85.1% of COVID-19 cases, 88.1% of hospitalizations and 85.5% of deaths were among individuals who were not fully vaccinated, according to MDHHS data. Hospitalizations for COVID-19 continue to be mostly preventable by receiving one of the safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines.

“We all need to do our part to get vaccinated and boosted to keep ourselves, our families and our neighbors safe,” said Dr. Natasha Bagdasarian, MDHHS chief medical executive. “In addition to getting vaccinated, it is important to maintain your routine medical care so that any potential illness gets detected early and can be much more manageable. We urge Michiganders to continue seeking medical care but avoid emergency departments unless they have a life-threatening condition. If you don’t have a primary care provider, now is a great time to find one through contact with your local health care system.”


Illnesses can be treated at a variety of care settings depending on the severity of symptoms. Michiganders with life-threatening emergencies should always seek care by calling 911 or visiting the nearest emergency department.

Related: CDC endorses schools’ coronavirus ‘test-to-stay’ policies

Call a health care provider (like your local physician’s office) for a virtual or in-person appointment or visit an urgent care provider for ailments such as:

  • Cold or flu

  • Sprains

  • Rashes or minor burns

  • Ear pain

  • Animal or insect bites

  • Allergies

  • A COVID-19 test.

Call 911 or visit an emergency department for:

  • Life-threatening medical conditions or emergencies such as a heart attack or stroke

  • Choking

  • Head injuries

  • Severe burns

  • Severe chest pain or pressure

  • Broken bones

  • Uncontrolled bleeding

  • Severe respiratory distress.

If you have minor symptoms like sniffles or a cough you should get tested for COVID-19. To receive a flu or COVID-19 vaccine, visit a pharmacy or immunization clinic or VaccineFinder.org to find a location near you.


Choose the right kind of care graphic. (MDHHS)

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