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LAC DPH Health Alert: Surge in Emergency Response System and Emergency Departments

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Key Messages

9-1-1 and emergency departments in Los Angeles County are inundated with calls and visits for COVID-19 tests and care for mild COVID-19 illness. Public Health is asking healthcare providers to reinforce our messages below to help protect our emergency medical system.

Action Steps Requested of Providers

Actively reach out to your patient panels to communicate the following:

  • How to take care of themselves if they have a COVID-19 infection. Discuss what to do if their symptoms worsen, including when to seek medical care. Refer patients to Take care of your health at
  • Emergency Department and the 9-1-1- system are for medical emergencies. Provide clear instructions to patients on when and how they should seek urgent medical care, including when to go to the emergency department and when to call 9-1-1. See a best practice from L.A. CARE regarding when to use Emergency Care and Urgent Care.
  • Contact advice lines and/or their own healthcare provider if they have non-emergency symptoms.
  • When and how to get a COVID-19 test. Provide information on testing through your office or medical system. If necessary, provide patients with information on other (non-ED) testing locations. This information can be found at under Where to Get a COVID-19 Test .

Visit the LAC DPH COVID-19 Hub and Vaccination Hub. Refresh your browser to view the latest version.

This communication was sent by Sharon Balter, MD, Director, Division of Communicable Disease Control and Prevention, Los Angeles County Department of Public Health.

To view a printable PDF of this communication and other LAHAN communications, please visit If this message was forwarded to you, please join LAHAN here.