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It’s easy to see some of the ways COVID-19 has altered our lives.

Schools and many businesses are shut down, morning commute traffic is essentially nonexistent, and we are getting used to a more “socially distant” world, at least in the short term.

But there are other changes that might not be so obvious, including a major shift in how people think about receiving medical care.

Has the fear of COVID-19 kept you from seeking treatment you need for a medical condition? Or made you rethink an upcoming appointment?

Putting off care can lead to serious consequences, according to Scott Hollrah, M.D., director of emergency medicine at Moore Regional Hospital.

“We know that there is a general fear about the presence of COVID-19 in hospitals and other medical facilities,” Dr. Hollrah said. “But we want you to know that our emergency room and facilities are open and ready to provide the care we always have.”

It’s important to react quickly to symptoms of serious illness, like the signs of a stroke or heart attack. And it’s also important not to delay care for other medical issues, from mental health needs to broken bones.

Timely treatment allows providers to lessen disease impact and speed up recovery times.

“We have been prepared for a possible surge of COVID-19 cases across the FirstHealth system, but at the same time, we are ensuring our emergency rooms and hospitals are able to care for everyone,” Dr. Hollrah said.

That preparation started weeks ago, before any cases were even present in the Sandhills, and continues each day via screening, visitor restrictions and the proper use of personal protective equipment like gowns and masks.

All patients and visitors are screened for possible COVID-19 symptoms when they come to a FirstHealth hospital, and separate emergency department waiting rooms at Moore Regional have been established for those dealing with respiratory issues.

“The bottom line is that it isn’t necessary to put off emergency care because of COVID-19,” Dr. Hollrah said. “Delaying medical care could lead to greater consequences down the road.”


Courtesy photo/Contributed

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