ETX emergency room visits down amid pandemic

Texarkana

TEXARKANA, Texas (KTAL/KMSS) – Many hospitals across the area are seeing fewer patients since the COVID-19 pandemic began. On Monday, healthcare providers said that’s not necessarily a good thing.

CHRISTUS health officials said they’re seeing fewer patients that have other medical needs. “Some people say ‘oh, that’s a good thing, people aren’t getting as sick.’ But, what it means is that people are suffering at home,” said Dr. Loren Robinson, CHRISTUS St. Michael Health System Vice President of Medical Affairs.

Doctors said that by postponing care for issues such as high blood pressure or complications with diabetes, many patients wind up with more severe health issues. “Even though there are elective or non-emergent surgeries that are being delayed, emergent surgeries, broken bones, cancer, the hospital is still the place for you to get taken care of,” Robinson said.

Robinson said visitors and staff at CHRISTUS St. Michael are required to wear masks, and the facility has created a COVID unit for patients in their care. “When you cohort patients, or keep all the patients who have COVID-19 in one area of the hospital, you minimize your risk of transmitting to hospital staff, to visitors,” she said. 

Officials said eight COVID-19 patients that were hospitalized there have recovered.  This week, the hospital is starting to use technology for nurses and COVID-19 patients to communicate. “Something like a Facetime, so that if patients have questions, but they’re in isolation, the nurse can answer those questions without having to go into the room and can use virtual resources and connect with their patient without having to put on the mask, and the gown, and the gloves, every single time they go into the room, but can connect outside the room,” Robinson said.

CHRISTUS St. Michael officials said if you’re sick and need to visit the emergency room, it’s okay to call ahead, but not necessary. “We want to see our sick people,” Robinson said. “We want to take care of our communities, so we can keep people as healthy as possible, and this is still a safe place to seek care.”

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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