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In Case of Emergency, Go to the Emergency Department! (It’s Safe)

June 15, 2020

Is it safe to go to the hospital? Yes. Here’s what you need to know.

With so many fearful of the coronavirus, visiting a hospital has made many people hesitant. But doctors fear waiting or delaying care for health issues can be far more dangerous.

A new Hartford Hospital study published in the American Journal of Cardiology found a 50 percent drop in April and a 35 percent drop in March in cardiac catheterizations, a test often used after a cardiac patient arrives in an emergency department. A new report from the Journal of the American College of Cardiology found a 38 percent drop in patients being treated for a life-threatening event. And a recent Gallup online poll found similar results. The poll asked people with different conditions how concerned they would be about exposure to the coronavirus. Eighty-six percent of people with heart disease said they would be either “very concerned” or “moderately concerned.”

Doctors warn you — pay attention to your health and please don’t delay essential care.

“People were having heart attacks and were basically having chest pain and staying home,” said Dr. David Anthony Buono, chief of emergency medicine at The Hospital of Central Connecticut in New Britain. “Some were also having stroke symptoms and staying at home and then by the time they did come in they were further along, much sicker and harder to treat.”

Dr. Buono says the decline in visits to the Emergency Department began in March and continued through April, and are now starting to slowly pick back up. The message to people in the community though is that if you have an emergency – don’t put off treatment. It’s safe to come to the hospital.

How will we keep you safe? Hartford HealthCare has taken preventive measures to keep employees and patients safe, which include:

  • Screening of all employees, patients and visitors before entering the hospital.
  • Anyone with a fever or COVID-19 symptoms is not allowed in the facility.
  • Everyone must wear a mask and if you don’t have one, one will be provided.
  • Surgery patients are tested for COVID-19 days before their appointment and then asked to self-isolate until their procedure.
  • Hand hygiene stations are located throughout hospitals/facilities.
  • Enhanced cleaning and sanitation is being done on all high-touch surfaces.

“We are very diligent about infection control and taking precautions,” said Dr. Mark Dziedzic, chief of emergency medicine at MidState Medical Center in Meriden. “People are going to get great care, that’s really what it comes down to.”

On June 15, Hartford HealthCare became the first healthcare system in the Northeast to loosen Emergency Department visitor restrictions. Here are some of the new guidelines in currently in place:

  • One visitor/escort allowed with the patient provided both can be brought directly to a room. When that is not possible, the visitor/escort may remain in the modified waiting area, provided physical distancing can be maintained.
  • If space is unavailable, the visitor/escort will have to provide contact information to arrange for patient pick-up and will then have to leave the location. No other visitors will be allowed.
  • Visitors/escorts for COVID-positive patients or patients under investigation for COVID-19 are not allowed, except in certain situations at the discretion of clinical leadership.

For more information on Hartford HealthCare’s Emergency Services, click here

For information on Hartford HealthCare’s new visitor policy, click here.

Not feeling well? Call your healthcare provider for guidance and try to avoid going directly to an emergency department or urgent care center, as this could increase the chances of the disease spreading.

Click here to schedule a virtual visit with a Hartford HealthCare-GoHealth Urgent care doctor.

Stay with Hartford HealthCare for everything you need to know about the coronavirus threat. Click here for information updated daily.

Questions? Call our 24-hour hotline (860.972.8100 or, toll-free, 833.621.0600). 

Get text alerts by texting 31996 with COVID19 in the message field.