From Kaleida Health:
According to a recent Morning Consult-American College of Emergency Physicians poll released last week, 29% of the more than 2,200 adults surveyed said they had avoided seeking immediate medical care over concerns about contracting coronavirus.
The results are consistent with trends across Kaleida Health’s four hospitals, which have seen a more than 60% drop in emergency room visits in April compared to the same month last year.
David Hughes, M.D., chief medical officer for Kaleida Health, said fear is causing people to not seek care for urgent conditions, which could lead to an even greater threat to the health of our community.
“We understand the public’s apprehension to visit emergency departments because of the risk of COVID-19 exposure,” he said. “At this point, the hospital is among the safest places to be right now with the extreme precautions that we have taken to protect patients and staff and to limit the spread of COVID-19.”
Kaleida Health has instituted temperature checks upon hospital entry and reentry as well as universal masking, requiring all providers, staff and patients to wear a mask. In addition, Kaleida Health implemented even more frequent and rigorous cleaning protocols to ensure facilities and high-touch areas are sanitized and safe.
“The longer patients delay treatment, the sicker they may become,” Hughes said. “Trying to avoid COVID-19 exposure could put their health at serious risk for other preventable conditions and complications.”
Kaleida said, “If you or someone you know is having a medical emergency, related or unrelated to COVID-19, call 9-1-1, go to the emergency department and do not delay treatment. This includes, but is not limited to, chest pain, choking, symptoms consistent with a stroke or cardiac event, high fever, shortness of breath or difficult breathing, broken bones, deep wounds, severe burns, severe abdominal pain and any life-threatening illness or injury.”
For those experiencing milder symptoms or require ongoing care management, Kaleida Health’s emergency departments and outpatient clinics now offer video and telephone visits through Kaleida Cares, a platform that gives patients the option of being seen by a doctor for medical issues from the comfort of their own home.
“Ultimately, we want the community to know that we are still available – both in person and virtually – to provide the safest, highest quality care – whether you are having a baby, need emergency surgery, or are experiencing symptoms of a heart attack or stroke,” Hughes said.