BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) — Baton Rouge General (BRG) is asking residents to avoid visiting the ER for non-life-threatening issues, such as COVID-19 testing.

According to an official press release, Baton Rouge General has 29 COVID-19 hospitalizations with five patients in the ICU.

“Over the last week we have seen an increase in COVID cases and an increase in the demand for testing across the community. We know that lines are long at many urgent cares and testing sites and that over- the-counter tests are hard to find, but we need to do our best to keep our emergency rooms reserved for emergency care and those that are experiencing severe issues such as difficulty breathing, chest pain, shortness of breath and stroke symptoms. If you have mild COVID or flu like symptoms call your doctor or visit an urgent care near you” said Monica Nijoka, Chief Nursing Officer at Baton Rouge General.

BRG asks that patients call 911 for serious emergency symptoms such as difficulty breathing, shortness of breath stroke symptoms or chest pain. Anyone experiencing minor COVID symptoms should go to urgent care or call a primary doctor. Baton Rouge General Express Urgent Care is taking appointments.

Visit Baton Rouge General’s website for more information.