UVA Health wants people to know the hospital is available for concerns not related to COVID-19

Dr. Andrew Southerland says some patients are not visiting the hospital due to fears over either contracting the coronavirus or taking away resources.
Updated: Mar. 29, 2020 at 5:51 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) -With nearly everyone focused on the coronavirus, discussions about other health issues have taken a back seat. However, the University of Virginia Health System wants people to know other medical problems are alive and present.

Heart attacks, strokes, and other health issues are still very much a reality. If you’re experiencing any sort of medical difficulties, there are still doctors and nurses ready to provide you care.

“Folks are nervous and concerned about leaving their homes and being told to socially isolate and clearly going into the hospital can be anxiety-provoking,” Doctor Andrew Southerland, Executive Vice-Chair of the UVA Health Neurology department, said.

Southerland says the hospital has seen a decline. “We’ve seen a decline in the number of areas in patients seeking emergency care.”'

It is not just happening at UVA Health.

“We’re actually seeing it and hearing from our colleagues here and around the country that in some areas there’s a 30% decrease in the number of folks calling 911,” Southerland said.

Southerland said some people are avoiding the hospital either because they are afraid they might catch the coronavirus or they don’t want to take away resources from those who have, either way, he said your health is important, too. “We don’t want patients to avoid calling for emergency services or going to the hospital if they have any signs or symptoms of other illnesses. We still want to recommend to folks to call 911, get your EMS providers there to help and get to the hospital as soon as possible."

UVA Health is stepping up its measures to make sure doctors, nurses and patients stay healthy.

“We’re taking great lengths at the hospital and with our medical providers to make sure that we are wearing appropriate protective equipment. Both, protecting our healthcare providers but obviously also protecting our patients," Southerland said.

Doctors are asking that you please go to the hospital if you’re experiencing a medical issue, but please know, it is likely to be more of a solo affair.

“We really are limiting all visitors to the hospital, except for certain conditions,” Southerland said.

The hospital is allowing one visitor for any woman having a baby and two visitors if an individual is nearing the end of their life.

Here is a link to the hospital’s full visitor policy.

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