Washington hospitals: Don’t delay non-coronavirus medical care due to COVID-19

Kadlec is 1 of 7 Washington hospitals to earn 5 star quality rating

RICHLAND, Wash. — 112 hospitals and health systems across Washington state have united to launch a public campaign encouraging Washingtonians to seek medical care if they need it.

Since the COVID-19 pandemic started, hospital staff have seen a noticeable decrease in patients coming for non-coronavirus-related medical treatment. That can include serious issues like stroke or heart attack symptoms.

“Some people think that right now all we’re doing is dealing with COVID-19 and that we’re overwhelmed with that,” said Dr. John Matheson, medical director for the emergency department at Kadlec. “Or they think that they are burdening us by having to take care of them when we have these other patients to take care of.”

Dr. Matheson said that’s not the case.

“We have the resources, and we have the capacity.”

Others may be afraid of catching COVID-19 by being in a medical environment, but Dr. Matheson said the risk is very low and seeking proper care is important. Hospitals are taking proper safety precautions including using appropriate PPE, separating COVID-19 patients from other patients and limiting visitors. Telehealth is also an option for treating certain health issues.

Under Gov. Inslee’s latest orders, Washingtonians currently have access to most health care services including certain elective surgeries.