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Health officials mediate concerns of visiting hospital during pandemic

Published: Jul. 10, 2020 at 6:12 PM EDT
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MISHAWAKA, Ind. (WNDU) - In light of the pandemic, many people may be hesitant in receiving emergency care, even if it is not related to the COVID-19.

16 News Now spoke with health officials Friday to mediate some of these concerns.

“We understand that the public is fearful and may attribute a healthcare setting with contracting COVID, but we want to reassure the public that, as a healthcare provider, we know a lot about protecting the public from infectious diseases,” Saint Joseph Health System Chief Medical Officer Dr. Gen Lankowicz said.

Both hospitals 16 News Now spoke with Friday were screening everyone who came into the hospital, requiring masks be worn and disinfecting surfaces frequently.

Suspected or confirmed COVID-19 patients were being treated in designated areas away from other patients.

“In order to continue to provide quality care and timely care, we’ve made these increases in what we normally do to help protect our community,” Kosciusko Community Hospital Medical Director Dr. Patrick Silveus said.

Dr. Silveus said that even the elderly or those with underlying health conditions should feel safe in visiting the hospital if necessary.

“Those are the people we want to make sure that they realize that we are prepared to safely take care of them in a timely manner,” Dr. Silveus said.

Dr. Lankowicz said they have been seeing one third fewer patients coming into the emergency department.

She also said that, across the nation, fewer patients are being seen for heart attacks and strokes.

“We’re scratching our heads about that, because COVID doesn’t prevent heart attacks or strokes. So, we are trying to figure out how it is that we are seeing fewer heart attacks and strokes,” Dr. Lankowicz said.

Both Dr. Silveus and Dr. Lankowicz say it’s important for people to know that they will safely receive the care they need if they visit the hospital.

Because, in an emergency situation, every second matters.

“Necessary treatment for urgent medical conditions could be the difference between life and death, and emergencies don’t stop for COVID-19,” Dr. Silveus said.

“We don’t want people suffering the consequences at home for serious problems that might have been preventable,” Dr. Lankowicz said.

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