LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – The emergency room is normally a pretty busy place, but Sparrow’s has been busier than usual lately.

Officials said more and more people are coming for nonlife-threatening conditions and it’s pushing wait times to the limit.

Instead of going to the ER For a sore throat, fever, or any other minor issue, officials said,
there are other options, like urgent care facilities and your family doctor.

Staying away from the emergency room will also help prevent the spread of RSV and other seasonal illnesses.

Sparrow’s interim president said both the general pediatric and pediatric ICU are nearing capacity.

Officials said an estimated 70% of the 34% in the pediatric emergency department or waiting to be admitted are suffering from respiratory illnesses, nearly all RSV.

For adults, chief medical officer Dr. Denny Martin said he thinks most of those cases stem from Thanksgiving travel.

He said his staff knows that the hospital is used for convenience at times but asks that you contact your primary care doctor or an urgent care clinic first if your symptoms are not life-threatening.

“We want to give the acuity or severity of the illness to the right location of care and really to protect our level one trauma center we can certainly take care of the other illnesses but to protect the resources, the staffing, the equipment, the room availability. We need to have immediate access to our emergency department to handle those illnesses. And we can provide great care at all our community emergency departments and walk-in clinics,” said Dr. Martin.

Dr. Martin said while respiratory illness cases are high, he reminds people to get their flu shot and covid boosters to get as much protection as possible.