Contrary to some reports, the Virginia College of Emergency Physicians (VACEP) clarified Saturday that the state’s hospital emergency departments are not overflowing with COVID-19 positive patients, but rather people seeking COVID-19 tests and people who have other maladies.

“The issue is the high volume of people coming to the [Emergency Departments], many of whom have minor conditions or are showing up for Covid testing (which is limited),” Jeff Kelley of VACEP told The Virginia Star.

Kelley maintained that it is largely unvaccinated Virginians who require hospitalizations, but when asked directly whether COVID-19 positive patients were overwhelming hospitals, said “there are many factors at play.”

Some news outlets have misrepresented VACEP’s recent request for Gov. Ralph Northam (D) to declare a state of emergency as a sign that COVID-19 positive patients are overwhelming hospitals.

For example, WAVY reported that “[t]he call from the emergency physicians comes as the omicron variant spreads quickly throughout the country,” and that “some local hospital systems have said emergency departments are becoming overwhelmed with the number of people coming in,” suggesting that COVID-19 positive patients are responsible for the surge in hospital visits and hospitalizations.

Still, VACEP says a state of emergency is necessary.

“The ED must see everyone (legally mandated to do so). Having the state intervene could allow for more funding for nurses and staff, and allow doctors to basically tell people with minor (or no) Covid symptoms to head home, thus reducing volumes,” Kelley said. “But right now, everyone must be seen and evaluated. EDs are seeing many times well over 100 patients than normal on some days. It is not sustainable.”

Meanwhile, studies continue to pour in suggesting that the Omicron variant of COVID-19 is more mild than previous variants because it does not attack the lungs as severely.

Dr. Anthony Fauci even admitted that many people infected with the variant who are in the hospital are there for other reasons.

Meanwhile, South African doctors, who first reported the new variant in late November, say the Omicron variant in their country has peaked. It was not nearly as devastating as previous variants, according to those doctors.

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Pete D’Abrosca is a contributor at The Virginia Star and The Star News Network. Follow Pete on Twitter. Email tips to