Californians asked not to use strained ERs for virus testing

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — California is bracing for an unprecedented number of hospitalizations amid a surge in coronavirus infections. That has health officials pleading with residents to reserve emergency rooms for true emergencies and not run to them in a search for scarce coronavirus tests. Doctors say patients with minor or no symptoms have been heading to emergency departments in search of care or tests, placing additional pressure on an already-taxed hospital system. Carmela Coyle, president and chief executive of the California Hospital Association, said the state already has a total of 51,000 people hospitalized, compared to 54,000 at the peak of last year's deadly coronavirus surge.

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