ANTIOCH -- A new urgent care clinic that allows insured East Contra Costa residents to receive treatment for non-life-threatening illnesses opened earlier this month.

Sutter Urgent Care Antioch, in Sutter's existing location in the Bluerock Center at 4053 Lone Tree Way, allows area residents to receive help on nights and weekends.

A high volume of patients use the emergency room at Sutter Delta Medical Center and wait for hours -- sometimes in discomfort -- to be treated, Sutter Health East Bay Region spokeswoman Tran Nguyen said.

"These people will have to sit there for hours in excruciating pain. The urgent care clinic will help those people to receive the quick treatment they need," she said.

The urgent care clinic allows Sutter to compete with John Muir's clinic in Brentwood and is more convenient for patients who otherwise have to drive to the Concord-Walnut Creek area, said Dr. Elizabeth Mahler, interim president of the East Bay Physicians Medical Group, the physician arm of the Sutter East Bay medical foundation.

"It's a very useful way to open up the practice," she said.

The urgent care clinic complements the Sutter Delta Community Clinic, which was opened in 2004 to help patients unable to afford private health insurance and lacking government-financed coverage.

The new clinic uses emergency physicians rather than Sutter's own staff to make community doctors feel more comfortable in referring patients to the clinic, Mahler said.

Staff physicians at the urgent care clinic can treat patients with illnesses, including sore throat, cold and flu, vomiting, diarrhea, asthma, headaches, ear infections, urinary tract infections or back pain.

People with conditions such as severe bleeding, poisoning, chest pain or pressure, moderate to severe burns, convulsions, serious head, neck or back injury, or severe broken bones should go to the hospital's emergency room.

Sutter Urgent Care Antioch is open 5 to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday and noon to 4 p.m. Sunday.

For more information, call 925-756-3499.

Contact Paul Burgarino at 925-779-7164. Follow him at Twitter.com/paulburgarino.