Triad area hospitals are now operating near capacity due in part to the omicron variant. And health system leaders say the situation is quickly becoming dire. 

Cone Health's ICU is now operating at 97% capacity. Novant and Atrium Health Wake Forest Baptist are both at over 90% system-wide. Dr. Stan Fuller, with Novant Health, says their employees are feeling the strain. 

“We're not asking you to get vaccinated. We're not telling you to get vaccinated. We're really begging you to get vaccinated," said Fuller. "We've been at this for over two years. And our health care workers, they're tired.”

Novant has cancelled some elective surgeries at Forsyth Medical Center in response to the surge. 

Dr. Christopher Ohl, with Atrium Health Wake Forest Baptist, says their emergency departments are getting overwhelmed. He suggested that members of the public should only seek COVID tests if they are severely ill, have underlying health issues, live with an immunocompromised person, or are an essential worker. 

“Otherwise, you probably don't need a test, you have cold and flu symptoms, take some days off of work and enjoy being inside during the cold January time," Ohl said. "Just sit out for five days. You don't necessarily need a test to do that.”

Ohl says if you do need a test, don't try to get one at an emergency room. 

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