By Staff Reports
(Victor Valley)– Becoming ill from COVID-19 is not the only serious health problem emerging from the coronavirus pandemic: a growing concern is the impact of people avoiding doctor visits and neglecting to take steps to treat serious medical conditions A report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that in the 10 weeks following the declaration of a national COVID-19 crisis, emergency department visits declined 23% for heart attack, 20% for stroke and 10% for hyperglycemic crises.
Initially this was due to worries that hospitals and doctors’ offices would be overrun with COVID-19 patients; in fact, many jurisdictions, including San Bernardino County, put limits on non-elective procedures during the early days of the pandemic. And many individuals feared visiting a medical facility due to concerns of becoming infected.
However, as hospitalization rates for COVID-19 patients have declined and medical facilities have become diligent in their efforts to protect staff and patients, health experts are urging residents to visit their health care providers — both to receive routine care and to seek treatment for diagnosed ailments.
“Doctors have been seeing an increase in patients’ weight and blood pressure, conditions like diabetes being ignored and surgeries delayed or even cancelled,” said Corwin Porter, the County’s director of public health. “People should not forego seeking treatment for such conditions. Getting help promptly is often critical to avoid more serious health problems in the future.”
New PSA encourages prioritizing medical needs
Porter and other public health officials, along with doctors and hospitals, are now actively promoting the need for people to pursue medical treatments for conditions unrelated to COVID-19. For example, the California Hospital Association (CHA) recently produced a public service announcement encouraging people to seek such medical attention.
The CHA and other medical experts are emphasizing that people should not delay getting the care they need, pointing out that hospitals and clinics are taking extra care to keep staff and visitors safe. For example, facilities are maintaining separate areas for treating patients with COVID-19 and other infectious diseases, and they are extensively cleaning and disinfecting rooms and equipment, while making sure everyone is wearing a face covering.
“Delaying care could lead to deteriorating health conditions and complicate recovery,” said Porter. “We want County residents to take the steps needed to protect themselves and their family members from potentially serious ailments.”