Despite falling rates of COVID-19 cases, seeking in-person healthcare is still a concern for many people. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports 41% of U.S. adults had delayed or avoided medical care because of concerns about COVID-19. Nationally, emergency department visits declined from 2.1 million emergency department visits per week during the early COVID-19 pandemic, to 1.2 million after shelter-in-place orders went into effect. Children had more than a 70% reduction in emergency department visits. Additionally, emergency departments saw a 36% reduction in diagnoses classified as emergent, such as stroke and acute coronary syndrome (ACS).
"These statistics point to an alarming trend," said Dr. Maureen Bell, emergency department medical director for Vituity and chair of emergency medicine at Howard University College of Medicine. "As an emergency department physician, I understand patient concerns. However, it’s critical for everyone to seek the care they need when they need it — for COVID-19 related symptoms or anything else. Hospitals, urgent care facilities and outpatient clinics are taking extra safety precautions to keep patients and staff safe from COVID-19 transmission.”