Health officials in New York are worried that concerns over COVID-19 have discouraged people from seeking medical help for other serious conditions.
The number of non-COVID patients admitted to New York City-area hospitals is down between 20 - 40 percent, reports NBC New York. But officials say it's too large a decrease to be explained away by a lack of business-as-usual in the state.
While the New York PAUSE order was intended to preserve hospital space for April's deluge of critically sick COVID patients, officials say there has been a disproportionate drop in patients admitted for other conditions.
Dr. Rafael Torres of White Plains Hospital says his facility has enacted a number of additional measures to ensure patients are safe from the novel coronavirus in the emergency room.
Every patient who comes to the emergency room at White Plains Hospital starts off in a tent outside, where they are sorted into one of two groups: patients exhibiting COVID-like illnesses and patients who are not.
Everyone is given a face mask upon entry. Hospital staff members are outfitted with requisite PPE and employees are cleaning even more than normal.
In particular, officials warn people not to hesitate seeking treatment if they experience chest pains, trouble speaking, trouble swallowing or dizziness. Those are telltale signs of heart attack or stroke, and stress from the pandemic means many Americans are at greater risk for cardiac episodes.
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