(WXYZ) — Doctors at Ascension hospital say even though the worst of the omicron surge is behind us for now, people should still exercise caution.
"We have more patients than we find get hospitalized for something else, and then are incidentally found to have covid positive tests than are actually being admitted because they are ill with COVID," said Dr. Steven Mcgraw, Emergency Physician, Chairman of Emergency Medicine at Ascension Providence Hospital - Southfield Campus.
As COVID-19 positivity rate drops in Michigan, Dr. Steven Mcgraw says the situation in the Emergency room is finally changing.
For instance, patients don’t have to wait for hours to be seen. Nor are patients being treated in the waiting room like they did during the peak of the pandemic.
"We had to adapt to make certain that we got people the care they needed in whatever fashion we could achieve it. I would argue that we are already back to the 90% seeing a provider within 30 minutes of arrival and most systems around us are back on their feet," Dr. Steven Mcgraw, Emergency Physician, Chairman of Emergency Medicine at Ascension Providence Hospital - Southfield Campus.
Dr. Nahid Elyas says telemedicine played a key role in reaching patients faster and keeping the less critical out of the ER.
"Now we can use it every day, for patients they can’t come to the office, elderly people, they don’t have transportation," said Dr. Nahid Elyas, Internal Medicine, Ascension Health System - Farmington Hills.
Telemedicine also played a critical role in this week's snowstorm. Dr. Elyas recalled assisting a patient who traditionally would have avoided driving to a hospital due to the storm and, as a result, would've suffered.
"I could see the rash and characterize the rash, and its shingle, so right away we gave him the medication and management for shingles," said Dr. Nahid Elyas, Internal Medicine, Ascension Health System - Farmington Hills.
Besides Covid, the winter season brings other ailments. Doctors say the usual suspects are bacterial infections, strep throat, viral pharyngitis, and thanks to the snow, there are also cardiac events, hypothermia, and frostbites, among others.
But interestingly, cases of flu have been the lowest two winters in a row. Dr. Mcgraw says it's most likely due to people getting their flu shots and also practicing covid safety measures.
"This is a good lesson going forward, maybe in bad flu seasons, we emphasize both, getting our vaccines every fall, but also making certain that we learn something about that COVID has thought us about not being within close proximity of people, staying home when we are sick," said Dr. Steven Mcgraw, Emergency Physician, Chairman of Emergency Medicine at Ascension Providence Hospital - Southfield Campus.
Also, when visiting an emergency room, Dr. Mcgraw says to highlight your severe symptoms, especially the ones you are experiencing for the first time. This will allow the team to treat you accordingly as ERs work on the triage system.