More sick people are impacting wait times at local emergency rooms

WEYMOUTH, Mass. — Hospital emergency rooms say they are seeing extremely high volumes right now, as a lot of people are sick coming off of the Thanksgiving holiday. Gatherings have turned into cases of Covid, flu and other respiratory issues.

At the same time, people with other types of emergencies are dealing with long wait times.

Outside the Health Express in Weymouth, we found people waiting.

Alanna Butler needs a doctor’s note to return to her teaching job.

“We’ve been waiting for 20 minutes but they said it is going to be two hours at least and you can’t leave,” said Bulter. “They’ll call me, they’ll call me. I’m just waiting patiently.”

Up the street at the South Shore Health emergency room, it is even busier.

Dr. Kelly Lannutti is the director of clinical transformation at South Shore Health.

“The volume in our emergency room is extremely high right now for good reason, there is a lot of people sick in the community,” said Lannutti.

Dr. Lannutti recommends the self-triage process, where you begin with a call to your primary doctor to determine the best place to get help.

“We really try to encourage to really make sure they are using the ER department appropriately for things that are emergent conditions,” said Dr. Lannutti.

Most doctor offices can handle everything from cold and flu to minor injuries. Walk-in Urgent Care facilities can handle x-rays and stitches for sprains and breaks to more serious injuries.

But doctors say the emergency room is always the go to for life threatening situations. “Any stroke like symptoms, so slurred speech, weakness on one side, crushing chest pain, severe shortness of breath. All of those things are true emergencies and you should go right to the emergency room,” said Dr. Lannutti.

South Shore Health says there may be some waiting even at their walk-ins – but the visits here are typically shorter. “It’s crowded but they are pretty, try to get people in and out fast. But it is definitely crowded,” said Butler.

Download the free Boston 25 News app for up-to-the-minute push alerts

>> Complete Covid-19 vaccine coverage


- Complete local and national coronavirus coverage here

- Follow us on Facebook and Twitter | Watch Boston 25 NOW

- Download our free apps for your phone and smart TV