/ Modified jan 24, 2022 6:03 p.m.

COVID infections closing some urgent care centers

Banner urges telehealth options as an alternative.

Emergency Room Banner UMC A sign directing visitors to the emergency room at Banner University Medical Center
AZPM

If you need urgent medical care, consider reaching for your phone before reaching for the car keys.

Just as more people need medical care in the midst of a pandemic, some urgent care centers are closing temporarily.

Banner Health chief medical officer Dr. Marjorie Bessel said the state's largest medical provider is closing multiple urgent care sites for lack of staff, as workers call in sick with breakthrough COVID infections.

Banner's website on Monday showed 6 of its urgent care centers in the Phoenix metro area were temporarily closed, but 13 others were open.

All 4 of Banner's urgent cares in Tucson remained open.

Bessel said people with urgent care needs should first check out telehealth options, either by phone or online, that don't require finding an open urgent care center.

"As this wave of omicron ultimately peaks and then subsides, we will be able to open up more of our urgent cares, but we are also committed to providing a lot of variety of options for you to receive care. And the tele (health) option will remain a good one even post this omicron surge," Dr. Bessel said.

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