FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) – An influx of parents rushing their kids to the emergency department of Cook Children’s Medical Center in Fort Worth for non-emergencies is overwhelming staff, the hospital says.

On Tuesday, August 17, staff saw 361 children in the emergency department. Almost half turned out to be less urgent or non-emergencies.

“I think for the most part, most of these parents are just nervous. They want to know if their kid has COVID,” said Taylor Louden, a pediatric emergency medicine physician for Cook Children’s.

They say parents are taking their kids to the hospital in a panic after finding out they may have been exposed at school or in other social settings.

More often than not, they say these kids don’t even have symptoms.

“Our urgent care actually doesn’t have the capabilities to test you if you’re asymptomatic. That’s why we have our drive-through testing.”

Without the ability to test, they say their resources like beds, and staff are becoming overwhelmed, while wait times for care are growing longer.

“If you’re coming in for those lesser reasons, unfortunately you may have very long wait times. We’ve all been stretched pretty thin.”

With COVID cases, RSV, and other illnesses they say they’re seeing more kids now than they did at any other point in the pandemic.

They ask, before bringing your child to the emergency department check for these symptoms:

Trouble breathing

Persistent pain or pressure in the chest

New confusion

Inability to wake or stay awake

Pale, gray, or blue-colored skin, lips, or nail beds, depending on skin tone

Nicole Nielsen