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Hospitals finally seeing uptick in non-COVID patients

More non-coronavirus patients aren’t letting fear get in the way of their health.

After it was reported some people were foregoing visits to their doctors and to the ER for emergencies due to fears of contracting COVID-19, more people are starting to show up.

Lee Health said they’re hopeful the uptick is a response to their message that it’s safe to come to the ER and they think there could be a surge of non-coronavirus patients who had been avoiding visits.

An ER doctor said that over the past few weeks, there was a huge drop in the number of reported strokes nationwide. It doesn’t mean they aren’t happening – it means people are suffering at home.

North Fort Myers resident Al Young said he’s keeping up with his health care no matter what.

“I shifted primarily to video conferencing or telephone calls,” he said.

He’s also going into the doctor when needed.

“They take your temperature and ask you three or four questions.”

Doctors say that avoiding medical care when you need it means you may end up needing it more.

“We might see a surge of those type of patients who develop worsening symptoms, by waiting it out,” said Dr. Larry Hobbs, ER doctor at Gulf Coast Medical Center.

At HealthPark Medical Center and Gulf Coast Medical Center, there is a wave of admissions unrelated to COVID-19.

“It has a lot to do with the fact that folks feel that a., we’re too busy or b., they might catch COVID,” Hobbs said.

That can’t be further from the truth, the doctor said.

“We’re probably the safest place you could come to, considering if you go out to go shopping or grocery shopping, you’re at much higher risk there than you are in the emergency department because there, you don’t know who has COVID.”

Lee Health said they work to keep COVID-19 positive and suspected patients away from others. They’re taking every precaution to keep you safe.

“The airflow goes out of the room instead of blowing into the room like a traditional air conditioner,” Hobbs said.

He also said they’ll give any ER patient a mask – and all of their staff is wearing protective gear, as well.

Reporter:Anika Henanger
Writer:Jackie Winchester
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