HMC asks public to use emergency services only for critical medical emergencies

With the Omicron variant causing an increase in COVID-19 cases in Qatar, Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC) senior officials are asking for the community to support the Corporation’s emergency services by only seeking care for emergency medical conditions.
“Qatar has seen a significant increase in COVID-19 cases driven by the spread of the Omicron variant. The early indications show that the vast majority of people infected with Omicron experience only mild or moderate symptoms which do not require treatment by medical teams. This is especially true in Qatar due to the high rate of vaccination, with over 85 percent of the population having received at least two doses. For this reason there is no need for people with mild or moderate symptoms to seek help from HMC’s emergency teams and they can safely isolate at home for ten days following their positive test result,” said Dr. Yousef Al Maslamani, Medical Director of Hamad General Hospital.
The rising number of COVID-19 cases in Qatar is leading to enormous demand on HMC’s Ambulance Service and Emergency Departments. These emergency services remain fully operational and ready to respond to all urgent, life-threatening medical emergency, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. However, HMC’s officials are asking for people with minor, non-emergency conditions to seek help from alternative services.
“Due to the increasing number of COVID-19 cases in recent weeks our teams are receiving very large numbers of calls every day,” said Assistant Executive Director of the Ambulance Service, Mr. Ali Darwish.
“Please support us by only calling 999 for critical medical emergencies – we ask people with non-emergency conditions to make their own way to a relevant health facility and not request an ambulance transfer. This includes people with mild or moderate COVID-19 symptoms. As always, we remain available and ready to support anyone with an urgent, life-threatening medical emergency and these individuals should not hesitate to call 999,” explained Mr. Darwish.
HMC’s emergency departments have also seen an increase in demand as COVID-19 cases have risen, with a growing number of people visiting emergency departments with non-emergency conditions.
“All our emergency departments remain open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to provide high-quality medical care to people with life-threatening medical emergencies. But due to the increase in COVID-19 cases we are now seeing many people presenting at our emergency departments with flu-like symptoms seeking help. These individuals place great pressure on our emergency teams who are working tirelessly to treat patients with the most critical medical conditions, and I therefore ask all patients with non-emergency conditions to use an alternative service such as HMC’s virtual Urgent Care Service or one of the 8 Primary Health Care Corporation Urgent Care Centers,” said Dr. Aftab Azad Deputy Chairman, Department of Emergency Medicine HMC.
• HMC’s virtual Urgent Care Service is available to support people with urgent, but non-life threatening medical conditions through the main helpline on 16000, from 7am to 3pm, Sunday to Thursday.
• Primary Health Care Corporation’s 8 Urgent Care Centers are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for patients with urgent but non-life threatening medical conditions.
• People with mild or moderate COVID-19 symptoms should call 16000 for advice or visit a relevant center for a COVID-19 test. COVID-19 PCR and Rapid Antigen Tests are available at more than 100 private clinics as well as all 28 PHCC health centers.

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