BOSTON (WHDH) - Doctors and nurses in the Commonwealth say they are overwhelmed with the latest COVID-19 surge filling hospital beds across the state.

In a joint statement this week the Massachusetts College of Emergency Physicians and the Massachusetts Emergency Nurses Association warned that emergency departments are at critical capacity.

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“We are busy, we are busier than we’ve ever been and on top of that we have staff that have also come down with COVID and they may not be terribly ill but they do have to isolate themselves at home and so that reduces our workforce,” said Dr. Brien Barnewolt who serves as Chairman and Chief of Emergency Medicine at Tufts Medical Center.

While they say people should not ignore serious issues, they are pleading with those suffering from only mild symptoms to steer clear of the hospital. Instead, they urge people to go to a testing site.

“I think if you have minimal symptoms, just a runny nose maybe a scratchy throat, you are vaccinated, no difficulties breathing you can probably arrange to have a COVID test done somewhere other than your local emergency department,” said Barnewolt. “Really want to save those beds for patients who are sicker and need our assistance.”

Both unions are asking the public to do their part by wearing masks and getting the vaccine.

“Now is the time to do it. It’s not too late and if you’ve been vaccinated and ready to have a booster, get that booster done,” the doctor said. “Those that have had their vaccine and boosters and have COVID have far fewer symptoms and they usually tolerate it pretty well.”

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Similar trends have been reported in hospitals nationwide and prompted President Joe Biden to once again urge unvaccinated Americans to get the jab.

“Unvaccinated people are taking up hospital beds and crowding emergency rooms and intensive care units that’s space other people need in those hospitals so please please please get vaccinated now,” said the president.

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