Doctors worry people are avoiding emergency care due to COVID-19 fears as ER visits drop

Minnesota health leaders say coronavirus fears may have some people staying home and avoiding visits to the doctor or hospital when they need treatment.

Dr. John Hick, an emergency medicine doctor, says so far Minnesota has not yet experienced a surge of cases that has overloaded hospitals. He credits Minnesota's stay at home order and social distancing efforts.

But, at the same time, Dr. Hick says they are seeing drops in emergency department traffic for other problems.

"Some of you may be staying home too much," said Dr. Hick. "We're very concerned that people may be too fearful of COVID-19 to come to the emergency room when they're are having chest pain or to come in when they think they are having a stroke or other symptoms."

Dr. Hick says hospitals are working to protect all patients and keep everyone safe during the pandemic. He says it is critical that Minnesotans seek help if they are experiencing serious health effects.

"The emergency care system is there for you all the time," said Dr. Hick. "Before COVID, and during COVID, and after COVID, use it when you need to make sure your health is protected."