This latest wave of Covid-19 cases is “unlike anything we’ve ever seen,” Dr. James Phillips, chief of disaster medicine at George Washington University Hospital, said Wednesday.
“What we're experiencing right now is an absolute overwhelming of the emergency departments throughout Washington, DC,” Phillips told CNN.
The emergency departments, he said, are flooded with mostly mildly symptomatic patients who are there to get tested.
“It's part of that shortfall of national testing that's occurring, and it's all falling on the emergency department,” Phillips said.
The problems are compounded by the highly contagious nature of the Omicron variant.
“While many of us were able to stay safe from getting the Delta virus and the previous variants that have come our way, Omicron is affecting the staff at our hospitals in an unprecedented way,” Phillips said. “We're really struggling to maintain our workforce, particularly of nurses right now. And that makes wait times even longer in the waiting rooms, and it's very demoralizing for both the patients and our staff.”