BAKERSFEILD, Calif. — Local hospitals say they have seen a dramatic decrease in emergency room visits because of COVID-19 concerns.
“...People are afraid to come to the ER to check for the things they should like heart attacks and strokes and other infections,” said Dr. Ronald Reynoso, Chief Medical Officer of Adventist Health Bakersfield and Tehachapi.
Doctor Reynoso said people shouldn’t be afraid to visit their hospitals. Adding that CDC and Kern County Public Health guidelines are being followed, staff are being screened, and a separate floor and emergency room areas for patients who may have COVID-19. He also warns delaying care could possibly decrease patient recovery and increase risk in mortality.
“We are really worried about heart attack and strokes because we understand that if you don’t intervene in time then the damage and the consequences are higher,” said Reynoso.
Russell Judd, Chief Medical Officer of Kern Medical, said their emergency rooms are also seeing a decrease in patient visits which he said is a concern.
“I think across our community, we as health care providers are concerned people are putting themselves at risk out of fear of catching COVID,” said Judd.
Judd said patients should be reassured that policies and protection measures are in place. And patients should feel safe when seeking medical attention and shouldn’t stay home or self-diagnosis.
“Do not delay care out of fear of getting COVID. The chance of you getting COVID at a hospital is very small because we are protecting you. We have systems in place to keep you safe. We have different entrances, we screen anybody who’s potentially positive. You have a greater risk of missing another medical condition than you do of getting COVID,” said Judd.
Dignity Health stated they’ve seen about a 50% decrease in patient visits in all three of the Dignity Health Bakersfield Emergency Departments.