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Primary Health Medical Group forced to close early due to overwhelming amount of urgent care patients

The medical group says it had a record number of urgent care patients totaling over 2,000 in one day.

BOISE, Idaho — On Tuesday, Primary Health Medical Group announced they will close an hour early due to urgent care clinics being overcapacity.

The medical group says it had a record number of urgent care patients totaling over 2,000 patients between all clinic locations in one day. According to CEO of Primary Health, Dr. David Peterman, over 75% of those patients were seeking evaluation or testing for COVID.

“We are overwhelmed by the number of patients that need to be seen and need to be tested and so we are getting to the point where we just physically can’t see anymore,” Peterman said.

The influx of patients is creating a strain on the healthcare workers, forcing them to turn away some patients. To alleviate some of that pressure, they will close at 7 p.m., something the clinics have never done before.

“There's only so much you can do when you are frustrated with the environment of having to see patient after patient after patient, and sicker and sicker and sicker and sicker, it is hard,” said Katie Summer, the clinical administrator.

Summers said medical staff is doing everything they can to treat and evaluate patients who are mildly symptomatic, but unfortunately, some of the sicker patients are sent to the hospital due to equipment that the clinics cannot provide.

“We've just consistently seen the number go up and up and up,” she said.

Peterman has been in urgent and primary care for over 30 years and said he’s never had to turn patients away or close the clinic's doors early. Even compared to the surge last year, Peterman said the number of patients being treated is insurmountable and staff are tired. 

"They are overwhelmed and it's every emotion you can imagine - exhausted, nervous, stressed. When you're so tired and you've got five other patients waiting, you're just trying to balance it all," he said.

“We are turning away people who are ill because we just can't see everyone. I am very sad to have to say to the public, to our patients, that we can’t see everyone."

Peterman urged everyone to wear a mask indoors and those who are eligible to get vaccinated.

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