As the coronavirus pandemic continues to spread worldwide, many people are having second thoughts about going to the emergency room (ER) or seeking medical care, worrying that it’s not safe to go to the hospital. Most people nowadays are likely to avoid or delay medical care due to COVID-19 concerns. In some emergency rooms or departments, they only have half of the usual number of patients.

Seeking emergency care is vital if a person is experiencing actual health issues. Delaying treatment for a medical emergency such as a stroke or heart attack can result in severe complications.

Precautions By Hospitals To Keep People Safe

Most people’s concern nowadays is on their chances of acquiring COVID-19 in the emergency room, or in the hospital if admission is necessary. The majority of adults worry about catching it in the emergency room. If there is a need to go to the emergency room, remember that hospitals, including Oswego Health, are taking the necessary precautions to avert the spread of COVID-19. Their objective is to make sure that visits to the emergency room are as safe as possible for everyone.

Hospitals nowadays follow strict guidelines to protect people during the COVID-19 pandemic. Some of these safety measures include the following:

  • Universal masking. Emergency rooms and departments in hospitals will require everyone to put on a face mask. The health care professionals should wear proper personal protective equipment (PPE) at all times.
  • Regular screening at all entrances. Those who are entering will undergo screening for the signs and symptoms of COVID-19.
  • They have designated “waiting” areas for individuals who have or may have COVID-19. Those who do should stay in separate areas of the ER away from individuals without any signs or symptoms.
  • Regular cleaning and disinfection. Emergency rooms or departments, restrooms, rooms and surfaces undergo regular and thorough cleaning and disinfection to comply with the COVID-19 hospital protocols.
  • Social distancing. The check-in and waiting areas in the emergency rooms and hospitals are modified to ensure that people follow the social distancing guidelines.
  • Hospitals are reducing the number of visitors. The majority of hospitals are limiting visitors to lower the risk of infection. This means that a family member may not be able to accompany you into the emergency room or be with you during treatment.

Safety Tips When Visiting The ER During The COVID-19 Pandemic

You may be in need of an emergency room near you, but also have second thoughts about going due to the pandemic. Let’s take a look at several ways in which you can ensure a safe visit to the ER.

Visiting The ER Safely

Traveling To The Hospital

If you have signs or symptoms of COVID-19 or something else, avoid using public transportation.

If you don’t require immediate medical care and don’t have a contagious disease, you can take a taxi, use a ride-sharing service or request a ride from a friend or relative. In case you’re uncertain whether or not you need immediate care, such as with a dental problem, you should get in touch with your local emergency number for assistance.

Staying Safe While Inside The Emergency Room

Always remember to protect yourself in the emergency room as you would in any public space with the following measures:

  • Always use a type of face-covering or mask.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth.
  • Observe physical distancing of 6 feet (2 meters) from other people at all times

Should I Consider Telemedicine Appointments?

Although there is no substitute for emergency care in the hospital, there are instances when a virtual visit is all you need. During a telemedicine appointment, a healthcare professional provides care via a video or phone call instead of a visit. Telemedicine appointments are suitable for cases that require non-urgent treatment such as flu, cold, rash, urinary tract infection (UTI) or sinus infection. Remember, though, that telemedicine should not replace emergency care at a hospital. If you are uncertain whether you need to go to the ER or not, call 911 first to help determine whether or not it would be better to have a virtual appointment.

Remember that it’s vital to seek immediate care at the emergency room when it comes to emergencies. If it’s necessary for you to go, consider these safety tips while in the hospital and you won’t have anything to worry about. If you’re already suffering from a medical emergency then your priority should be seeking help, not sheltering yourself from COVID-19.

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