Out of fear, many people are staying home when they should seek medical attention. This could be a dangerous practice. “The risks of ignoring signs of something like a heart attack, stroke or COPD exacerbation is far worse than the risks posed by the COVID virus,” says Kevin Wright, Nurse Manager for the Emergency Department at Highlands Medical Center. “In a medical emergency every minute matters. If you have an emergency and don’t come to the ER or call 911, you could be putting your life at risk or reducing your chance of a successful recovery.”
HMC takes measures to prevent exposure and spread in the ER. Patients are screened at the door, and those who may potentially have the virus are separated from non-COVID patients and brought into the ER through a side door entrance. The door is located next to the negative-pressure isolation rooms where they are kept away from all other areas of the ER. Physicians and staff use PPE with every ER patient to prevent any potential exposure or spread, and all patients are required to wear a mask.
In addition to diligent cleaning and disinfecting, HMC is continuing to take precautions for infection prevention, social distancing, controlling the flow of patients through the facility, restricting visitation and monitoring access to the facility. Every person who enters the building, including patients, physicians and staff, goes through a screening process to determine if they will be allowed in the facility.
According to Wright, HMC has seen a decline in the number of patients with COVID-19 symptoms coming into the ER and hopes to see this downward trend continue. At the time this article was written there were no COVID-19 positive patients at HMC.