DECISION TIME: URGENT CARE OR ER?
Central Florida Health News|August 2021
Urgent Care Facilities Help to Ease the Burden on Emergency Rooms
TERESA SCHIFFER

When patients are experiencing a medical emergency, whether it’s a serious injury or symptoms of severe illness, it’s important for them to get the right care. While an emergency room may be first to come to mind, sometimes a situation isn’t quite an emergency but still warrants immediate attention. This is why urgent care clinics are popping up throughout the country.

While it’s hard to accurately assess current average trends for urgent care facilities due to the COVID-19 crisis, it is correct to say that the popularity and usage of these clinics has been on the rise for the past several years. From 2013 to 2019, the number of urgent care centers in the U.S. grew from about 6,100 to more than 9,600. By 2019, they were averaging about 30 visits per day each.

April of 2020 was the lowest month on record for visits to urgent care facilities, most likely due to the general quarantines caused by the coronavirus pandemic, with an average of 17.8 visits per day. By June of that year, visits had risen to 33.3 visits per day, with COVID-19 being the most common cause for patients to visit an urgent care center.

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