"Provider with arm around patient"Coughing, sneezing, fever, vomiting, wheezing, stomach pains, headache ... There’s no doubt viruses abound during the winter months. And so do slips and falls from icy conditions. When you or a loved one is injured or sick, it’s natural to think your local emergency department (ED) is the first place you should go. But often, a trip to an urgent care center will meet your needs and give you the same quality of care! Choosing urgent care over an ED, when appropriate, can help keep ED volumes down, which will shorten wait times and ensure everyone gets the care they need quickly and safely. So how do you decide?

In some instances, you will know right away if you or a family member needs immediate medical attention. But other times, it may not be so clear. You can always call your primary care provider (or your child’s pediatrician) first. They can assess what is going on to determine where you should go, or if the ailment can possibly be treated at home.

Call 9-1-1

Let’s get the obvious out of the way first. Sometimes an injury or illness is so severe, immediate action is needed. Don’t try to manage the situation yourself. Instead, call 9-1-1 for immediate care and safe transport to the hospital. When to call 9-1-1:

  • Breathing stops or a person is turning blue
  • Broken bone sticking out through the skin
  • Choking 
  • Ingestion of an unknown amount of medicine
  • Loss of consciousness after a fall
  • Seizure
  • Serious allergic reaction
  • Uncontrollable bleeding from a large cut/injury
  • Any instance where you think someone’s condition is life-threatening  

Emergency Department

An ED is open 24/7. Trips should be reserved for life-threatening or very serious illnesses and injuries. When people use the ED for routine exams, conditions or illnesses that are not serious—such as headache, fever, coughs, minor cuts, sprains, etc.—it creates longer wait times. Additionally, patients with more serious conditions and symptoms will be seen first, so you could be waiting for some time. Go to the ED for:

  • Acute abdominal pain 
  • Children under 3 months of age who need immediate care 
  • Extreme pain, especially if the cause is unknown 
  • Eye injuries 
  • Falls with injury or while taking blood thinners 
  • High fevers 
  • Intestinal bleeding 
  • Loss of consciousness or vision 
  • Persistent chest pain (especially radiating to arm or jaw, with sweating, vomiting or shortness of breath) 
  • Repeated vomiting 
  • Seizures without a previous diagnosis of epilepsy 
  • Severe burns 
  • Severe heart palpitations 
  • Sudden severe head pain or injury 
  • Sudden testicular pain or swelling 
  • Suspected poisoning or drug overdose 
  • Traumatic injury 
  • Vaginal bleeding with pregnancy 
  • Weakness or paralysis 
  • Other conditions that appear to be serious

Urgent Care

Urgent care hours usually extend beyond the hours of a doctor’s office, allowing you to seek care earlier in the morning, into the evenings and on weekends without an appointment. At an urgent care center, you can get treatment for an injury or illness that shouldn’t wait but isn’t life-threatening. Things like stitches, sprains, coughing, fever, minor injuries and X-rays can all be treated at an urgent care location. Wait times can vary season to season. For example, urgent care wait times increase during flu season. Visit an urgent care center for:

  • Allergic reactions 
  • Animal and bug bites 
  • Broken bones 
  • Cuts that may need stitches 
  • Coughs, congestion and sinus problems 
  • Earaches or infections 
  • Mild fevers 
  • Minor burns 
  • Neck and back pain 
  • Painful urination 
  • Pink eye or other minor eye problems 
  • Rashes 
  • Severe flu or cold symptoms 
  • Sprains and strains 
  • Throat pain 
  • Vomiting 

Understanding whether to visit the emergency department or an urgent care center now can help when things happen later, and you need to decide quickly what to do.

Garnet Health Emergency Department Locations

Garnet Health Medical Center
707 East Main Street, Middletown, NY 10940 
Level II Trauma | Pediatric Emergency Department | Designated Stroke Center

Garnet Health Medical Center – Catskills, Harris Campus
68 Harris Bushville Road, Harris, NY 12742 
Designated Stroke Center

Garnet Health Medical Center – Catskills, Callicoon Campus
8881 Route 97, Callicoon, NY 12723   

Garnet Health Urgent Care Locations

Garnet Health Urgent Care - Middletown
Outpatient Building
707 East Main Street
Middletown, NY 10940

Garnet Health Urgent Care - Goshen
102 Clowes Ave
Goshen, New York 10924
Phone: 845-333-7200

Garnet Health Urgent Care - Monticello
38 Concord Road
Monticello, New York 12701
Phone: 845-333-6500




Chris Thurtle, MA
By Chris Thurtle, MA

Chris Thurtle is Garnet Health’s Digital Marketing Manager in the Marketing and Corporate Communications department. He received his Bachelor’s degree in Combined Studies (Psychology/Information Systems) from Leicester University, U.K. and his Master's degree in Psychology from Marist College. Chris is passionate about building awareness and effectively communicating the services and support that Garnet Health can bring to the citizens of Sullivan and Orange Counties through digital and traditional marketing. He provides planning and leadership in digital marketing strategy, and digital communications. Chris can be reached at (845) 333-2363 or 

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