Infographic: Should You Go To Urgent Care Or The ER?

How to decide when to go to urgent care or the ER during the COVID-19 pandemic.

When you are sick or injured, you may need immediate medical attention. If your doctor is not available or your condition is severe, would you know when it’s best to go to urgent care and when to head straight to the ER? Especially now in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic?

Many hospitals are urging patients to avoid the ER unless absolutely necessary at this time. Emergency rooms are still open to treat seriously ill or injured patients but are asking people with minor and non life-threatening conditions to seek other means of medical treatment when possible.

If you need to go to the ER and have tested positive for COVID-19 or have symptoms of the virus, call your doctor, the hospital or the local health department first for instructions on what to do. If your condition is life-threatening, call 911. Let the 911 operator know if you or someone in your household has COVID-19 so first responders can take necessary precautions to keep everyone as safe as possible.

Although the emergency room should be your first choice if an injury or illness appears severe or life-threatening, there are many times when heading to an urgent care center is a better option than going to the ER. The infographic below provides useful information about when to go to urgent care and when to go to the ER for conditions not related to COVID-19.

urgent care vs er infograhic v2


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Date Last Reviewed: March 30, 2020

Editorial Review: Andrea Cohen, Editorial Director, Baldwin Publishing, Inc. Contact Editor

Medical Review: Perry Pitkow, MD

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