ST. CLOUD -- If you wouldn't have gone to the emergency room for minor symptoms a month ago, don't go now. That's the message local health officials are asking you to abide by.

The St. Cloud Hospital ER is seeing a huge increase in traffic from people who don't have urgent needs.

Kathy Parsons is the Vice President, Population Health at CentraCare. She says she understands you may be worried, but just because you have a cough or runny nose doesn't mean you have COVID-19.

The treatment is the same as it was three weeks ago, stay home, rest, drink lots of fluids and take care of yourself. The only time you would need to consider coming into the ER is if you have struggles breathing or a very high-risk situation such as a history of lung disease.

Parsons says right now the only people who can be tested for COVID-19 per state guidelines are people who are hospitalized, a health-care worker or in a long-term care facility.

If you have other symptoms not related to COVID-19 it's best just to stay home, rest, and monitor your illness.

Otherwise you can call CentraCare Connect at 320-200-3200 to speak to a nurse.

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