DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) — Emergency room wait times are skyrocketing across the country as the delta variant rapidly spreads.

“A lot of what’s driving the increase are the medical patients that normally come in but really the bump in cases associated with COVID-19,” said Dr. Roberto Colon, chief medical officer for Miami Valley Hospital.

Colon said the majority of COVID-19 patients do not need to be hospitalized.

“If you are simply having muscle aches, a little bit of tiredness or just had close contact and are completely asymptomatic, while you are absolutely able to get care in the emergency department, that may not be what you require,” he said.

If you only require a COVID test, he suggests visiting an urgent care location, going to a testing site, or scheduling a telehealth appointment.

Symptoms that prompt an emergency room visit are things that can’t be managed at home. These include:

  • Severe chest pain or pressure
  • Shortness of breath
  • Steady high fever
  • Dehydration
  • Inability to perform normal daily activities

Colon said Miami Valley Hospital will never deny patient care but when coronavirus patients fill up hospitals it creates a domino effect.

“If we have individuals in high numbers that have mild symptoms or symptoms that are not urgent they may have to experience longer waits,” he said.