Carilion reports 40-50% decrease in ER visits

ROANOKE, Va. – Carilion is reporting that visits to its emergency room have gone down by nearly half of what they were, but medical experts say that’s not all good news.

There has been a 40-50% decrease in emergency department visits, according to a news release from Carilion.

Medical professionals with the hospital have attributed this to fewer people on the road due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Experts are also noticing a decrease in patients presumably with conditions that can’t be properly treated outside an ER, like heart attacks and strokes.

While Carilion officials said they see any reduction in the need for trauma care as a good thing, there’s some cause for concern.

Dr. John Burton, chair of emergency medicine at Carilion, says there are concerns that people are either not coming in or waiting too long to get care because they are scared to be in a hospital setting during a pandemic. He says there should be no scientific reason or evidence that coronavirus is reducing things like heart attack or stroke.

“There are people who have respiratory problems at home, emphysema, asthma, chest pain, and then when they get to us in the emergency department, it’s really late in the course of their illness and there are things that we could have done earlier that would have improved their treatment and made them better in their recovery,” said Dr. Burton.

Carilion is urging patients to not let fear keep them from seeking medical attention when necessary. For more information on if you should go to the emergency department, click here.

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