SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Baystate Health is urging residents to not go to the hospital emergency departments for a COVID-19 test.

During the last few weeks, emergency departments have seen a increase in people visiting the Emergency Room for COVID-19 testing. It’s overwhelming the already strained healthcare system.

“A significant number of adults and parents with children and in some cases whole families coming in to be tested for COVID-19 even though in many cases they are either asymptomatic or just have mild symptoms,” said Dr. Andrew Artenstein, Chief Physician Executive and Chief Academic Officer, Baystate Health.

They are asking people to instead find a testing location elsewhere in Massachusetts, which you can find on the Mass.gov website here. Baystate Health has seen an increase recently in the number of people entering the emergency room for a COVID-19 test due to the lack of appointment slots for PCR tests in the area. Dr. Artenstein says when you go to the emergency room for a non-emergency issue, it takes away resources to those in an emergency need.

“Going to the ED for non-emergency COVID-19 testing without serious symptoms requiring immediate attention, such as shortness of breath or chest pain which could be symptomatic of COVID-19 or other critical illness, diverts essential, live-saving resources from patients who are experiencing a true emergency,” said Dr. Artenstein.