ER visits still down as patients are concerned about COVID-19 exposure

Miami Valley News

MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Ohio (WDTN) – Emergency room visits are down in the Miami Valley.

Doctors say people are hesitant to come in for fear of being exposed to COVID-19, but assure potential patients that these healthcare settings are safe.

Emergency department physicians at both Kettering Health Network and Premier Health said it’s slowly getting better, but there’s still a definite difference in the number of people going to the ER for injuries or illnesses not related to the coronavirus.

“We are still seeing a fairly low level of COVID,” said Dr. Nancy Pook, an Emergency Physician with Kettering Health Network. “While our county as a whole is on a higher level of concern, those that come into the ER, very few are still testing positive.”

Pook said even with the low case numbers, their emergency room visits are down 14 percent compared to last year.

Dr. Randy Marriott with Premier Health said they’re also tracking a decrease in visits, but he added they have no evidence that patients are putting themselves at any greater risk of infection.

“We have no one locally who’s been infected simply by coming to the hospital, specifically the emergency department,” said Marriott. “I’ve seen no national information indicating that either.”

Both Pook and Marriott said their hospitals are prepared to safely handle potential COVID patients away from any other patients. So they urge people not to wait to receive potentially life-saving care.

“People delaying care for strokes is one big issue, also heart disease,” said Pook. “We do not want that to happen.”

It’s also stopping people from giving life-saving care.

Marriott said there are reports across the country of people not giving chest compressions to someone dying because of coronavirus concerns.

“Use a mask on the victim or pull their shirt up over their face, that should eliminate any undue risk,” said Marriott. “But we don’t want to see victims of sudden cardiac arrest go without care or go without being resuscitated out of fear of COVID because that’s certainly not a reasonable fear.”

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