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TMH VP urges vaccines, asks not to head to ER for COVID tests as Omicron hits hospital staff

TMH’s Vice President and Chief Integration Officer, Dr. Dean Watson, says his hospital is feeling the impact of Omicron.
Published: Dec. 28, 2021 at 5:38 PM EST
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - Nearly two years into the COVID-19 pandemic and Tallahassee Memorial HealthCare is still feeling the virus’ punch, forcing staff to once again make tough choices.

TMH’s Vice President and Chief Integration Officer, Dr. Dean Watson, says his hospital is feeling the impact of Omicron, saying more staff are catching the virus and going into quarantine.

“We are going to have to limit some of the elective procedures again, but it is the right thing to do for the near future,” Dr. Watson said.

He says he approves of the CDC’s new five-day quarantine policy for positive cases, saying, “It’s all based on science.”

The new policy will be applied for staff, but they’ll be more cautions and potentially slower for high-risk wards.

Dr. Watson says a big problem right now is people flooding the ER with mild cases looking for tests.

“If you’re extremely ill, we want you to be in our emergency department,” he said. “But, if you’re not, there are plenty of other ways to get tested.”

He also says every day those showing up to the hospital prove the vaccines are working.

“Individuals that are unvaccinated are doing worse than those who are vaccinated,” he said. “I am telling you it is still imperative to get vaccinated.”

Dr. Watson says he’s praying that the early reports that Omicron could be less severe and more cold-like prove to be true, although he says it’s too early to know for sure and, for now, the best thing we can do is continue to get vaccinated and test frequently: Just not at the TMH ER.

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