An ER doc says separate COVID-19 clinics should be set up to allow overstretched ERs to focus only on emergency cases

An ER doc says separate COVID-19 clinics should be set up to allow overstretched ERs to focus only on emergency cases
ER doctor Mucio Kit Delgado suggested in a Twitter thread that separate COVID-19 testing and care clinics could be set up to relieve strained ERs of having to care for patients with milder COVID symptoms.Getty Images
  • A Philadelphia ER doctor says separate clinics for COVID-19 should be set up for those with mild symptoms.
  • Dr. Mucio Kit Delgado said this will reduce the strain on ERs and let them provide urgent care to those who need it.

An ER doctor has suggested that US healthcare systems need to be smarter with adapting to the Omicron wave of COVID-19 infections, with one solution being to re-direct milder cases of COVID-19 out of the emergency rooms so doctors can focus on those who need urgent care.

Mucio Kit Delgado, an ER doctor and assistant professor of emergency medicine at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, posted several ideas on how the country's stressed healthcare systems can deal with COVID-19.

In a Twitter thread posted on January 3, Delgado said that the Omicron variant is "crazy contagious," observing that health systems continued to be stressed by record-high patient numbers, with mostly unvaccinated patients needing hospitalization and oxygen.

"A jump in vaccination rates is not going fix this insane surge in cases we're seeing right now and for the next 4-6 weeks. Health and social systems need to seriously adapt and quickly, or our ability to provide health care will be seriously compromised," Delgado wrote.

Delgado suggested that COVID testing clinics could be set up outside the ER to "divert low severity patients from ERs to more convenient care and allow ERs to focus on non-COVID and COVID emergency care."


He also floated the idea that patients with lower-severity COVID-19 infections could be placed in dedicated COVID observation units for short-stay hospitalizations to receive the IV fluids and supportive care they need.

"Hopefully, by late Feb., we will have more people boosted and access to new antivirals. Until then, things will be tough," he wrote.

Insider has reached out to Delgado for comment.

Delgado's observations align with what Dr. Anthony Fauci, the chief medical adviser to the White House, said about the COVID-19 pandemic last week. On Wednesday, Fauci told MSNBC that many people who test positive for COVID-19 at hospitals may be asymptomatic or incidental cases, who are admitted for "a broken leg, or appendicitis" as opposed to being there for COVID-19 related reasons.

Early lab studies of the Omicron variant also suggest that it could be milder than other variants because it does not attack the lungs as aggressively.


The US, however, is seeing a marked surge in its COVID-19 case numbers. The New York Times' COVID-19 case tracker reported a severe upswing in the number of COVID-19 infections, with the daily average of 119,751 new cases reported on December 6 nearly quadrupling to a daily average of 405,470 new infections reported on January 2.