(WFRV) – Several local health departments and hospitals released a joint statement Thursday urging residents to not seek out COVID-19 testing at hospitals, but instead go to a community testing site.

According to the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, emergency rooms across the state are seeing increased wait times due to residents wanting COVID-19 tests.

Officials say this is posing a problem as emergency rooms are meant for emergent situations that oftentimes require haste.

“Please do not go directly to the emergency room or urgent care for testing. If you are seeking COVID19 testing, please consider your options and the effect it has on your community,” the statement read.

Community members seeking a COVID-19 testing site near them can find one here.

Additionally, medical experts are reminding community members to adhere to the following guidelines in an effort to help keep Wisconsin communities safe.

If you don’t have COVID-19 symptoms but were exposed:

  • Quarantine for five days and schedule a test for day five of exposure; wear a mask for 10 days
  • If you have received your booster, you do not need to quarantine, but monitor for symptoms and test if they develop; wear a mask for 10 days.

If you have COVID-19 symptoms:

  • Isolate and schedule a test; isolate until symptoms have resolved or you have a negative test
  • If you are experiencing an emergency, dial 911

If you used a home test and have a positive result:

  • Isolate for 10 days; you may reduce your isolation to five days if asymptomatic but must wear a mask for an additional five days
  • There is no need to schedule a confirmatory PCR test if you received a positive home test result; trust this result

As the numbers continue to rise in our communities, we strongly urge people to get vaccinated and get a booster shot… Our emergency rooms and urgent cares will continue to be available for emergent situations but should not be used for COVID-19 testing. Together, we can get through this.”

Wisconsin Department of Health Services