Heart Health Concerns Rise as Emergency Department Numbers Drop During COVID-19 Pandemic

ER Heart Attack, Stroke Press Release

It is a concerning trend felt across the nation; emergency departments and urgent care centers are seeing a significant decrease in the number of patients seeking care in emergency situations.

Holland Hospital has experienced a decrease in the number of patients treated in the emergency department during the COVID-19 pandemic. This is especially alarming when it is due to someone who has cardiovascular disease or is experiencing stroke or heart attack symptoms.

“Getting care fast will minimize damage, and is critical to your health and recovery.” said Dr. Sandip Kothari, emergency department physician at Holland Hospital. “People with heart disease or who’ve had a stroke have a special reason to be concerned about COVID-19. They’re not only at greater risk for contracting the virus, but also experiencing more serious symptoms and complications.”

Holland Hospital is prepared to care for coronavirus patients, while also working to prevent the spread of infection. The hospital has gone to great lengths to maintain a safe environment for all patients who seek care. All patients, staff and visitors entering the hospital are screened for COVID-19 and are given a mask to wear.  A designated area in the emergency department is in place for respiratory patients, and the hospital has implemented recommended visitor restrictions. The hospital’s emergency department is following rigorous health and safety protocols to protect all patients from COVID-19.

“If patients are having chest pain, abdominal pain or symptoms of a stroke they should be seen emergently,” Dr. Kothari said. “While everyone should be staying at home as much as possible right now, those with heart conditions should be particularly vigilant about this recommendation, as well as following the CDC’s COVID-19 prevention and safety guidelines.

Signs of a heart attack include:

  • Discomfort or pain in the chest,
  • Lightheadedness/dizziness, nausea or cold sweat
  • Jaw, neck or back pain
  • Pain in one or both arms or shoulders
  • Shortness of breath

Signs of stroke include (BEFAST):

  • B = Balance: Sudden loss of balance or coordination
  • E = Eyes: Sudden trouble seeing out of one or both eyes
  • F = Face: Sudden drooping of one side of the face
  • A = Arms: Sudden weakness or numbness in one arm
  • S = Speech: Sudden trouble speaking or confusion
  • T = Time: Call 911 immediately if you notice any of these signs

If you suspect you or someone you love might be having a heart attack or stroke, call 911 right away. For updates on our response to the virus, visit hollandhospital.org/covid19.

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