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Have COVID? Know when to go to ER and when to stay home.

  • Category: COVID-19
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Have COVID? Know when to go to ER and when to stay home.

In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, you might find yourself weighing if a trip to the emergency department is truly necessary. Perhaps you’re afraid you might catch the virus while receiving emergency care. If you’re experiencing life-threatening symptoms, whether due to COVID-19 or another medical condition, seeking timely care from the emergency department is vital. We are here to care for you during a health crisis.

Think you may have COVID-19?

If you are experiencing signs of COVID-19 that do not seem life-threatening—such as cough, fatigue, headache, or loss of smell and taste—a reasonable thing to do is call your healthcare provider and discuss your symptoms.

If your symptoms are mild and your immune system is strong, chances are that your provider will advise you to treat your symptoms at home with over-the-counter medications. Your provider will encourage you to stay away from other people, including those in your own household, for 14 days or longer to reduce the risk of spreading the virus to others.

Something's wrong

However, if you are experiencing warning signs that indicate you may have serious complications related to COVID-19, you should seek immediate care from the emergency department.

These signs include:

  • Blue coloring in the face or lips
  • Chest pain and pressure
  • Confusion
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Inability to wake up or stay awake

Everyone with COVID-19 is at risk for developing serious complications, but your risk increases if you have certain medical conditions,


Chronic kidney disease
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
Cystic fibrosis
High blood pressure
Immune deficiencies
Sickle cell disease
Type 2 diabetes
If you experience serious symptoms, call 911 or our emergency department. Tell the operator that you are experiencing severe symptoms and think you may have COVID-19.

“The earlier we can get to you, the better we can support your lungs, heart, and brain,” said Jeffrey M. Elder, MD, Medical Director for Emergency Management at LCMC Health. “We want you to come to the hospital if you feel like you’re getting sicker than you would with something like the common flu. If you are not improving or are feeling worse, it’s critical that you come to the hospital to be evaluated.”

Do you have a non-COVID-19 medical emergency?


As much as we wish it were so, life-altering medical emergencies have not taken a vacation during the pandemic. They still occur and require timely treatment in the emergency room. These events include broken bones that pierce the skin, heart attack or stroke symptoms, a high fever that cannot be controlled with over-the-counter medications, severe allergic reaction that impacts your ability to breathe normally, and uncontrolled bleeding. Letting these conditions go unchecked can result in irreversible consequences, such as loss of function or, worse, loss of life.

Rest assured, our providers will care for you like family and have taken proper precautions to keep everyone safe who passes through the doors of our emergency department.

“People should not be scared of being in the hospital because of COVID-19,” Dr. Elder said. “We have really good infection control measures. We’re not only screening everyone, but we’re constantly cleaning. The hospital is a very safe place for people to get treated for an emergency medical condition or more routine things.”

If you experience signs of an emergency medical event, such as chest pain, intense abdominal pain, inability to speak, sudden confusion, or uncontrollable bleeding, do not hesitate to seek immediate emergency care.

Now, as much as ever, we’re here for you.

Find the ER average wait times at LCMC Health hospitals and a list of heart attack and stroke symptoms, visit LCMC Health Emergency Care.

For less serious emergencies, many of our hospitals provide Online Check-in for their Emergency Rooms. You can see the next available time and reserve your spot while you wait comfortably at home or in your car.

Children's Hospital New Orleans | Pediatric ER Online Check-in

East Jefferson General Hospital | Adult ER Online Check-in

New Orleans East Hospital | Adult ER Online Check-In

Touro | ER Online Check-in & Senior Emergency Room

West Jefferson Medical Center | Pediatric ER Online Check-in & Adult ER Online Check-in