Wisconsin’s hospitals and emergency physicians are reminding the state’s citizens that they should not put off seeking important health care, as hospital emergency departments and urgent care clinics are fully staffed, safe and ready as always to help treat members of the community.

The message comes from the Wisconsin Hospital Association (WHA) and the Wisconsin Chapter of the American College of Emergency Physicians (WACEP).

“We understand how images seen from around the world and here in the U.S. about the COVID-19 pandemic can be scary and might make folks hesitate about whether to go to their hospital’s emergency department or urgent care,” WACEP President Ryan Thompson, MD, FACEP said. “We’re reminding everyone that providing emergency care is at every hospital’s core — we’re here for you when you need us.”

Chest pains, severe abdominal pain, stroke symptoms, severe headaches, persistent vomiting, injuries and trouble breathing are all among the serious conditions that could require emergency care, Dr. Thompson said.

WHA President and CEO Eric Borgerding added, “Hospitals and urgent care clinics are the safest, cleanest places anyone can visit. They are expert in controlling infections and in decontamination so that they can safely take care of patients who are suffering from different types of health issues. Hospitals and clinics work very hard to have the capacity and resources on hand at all times to care for patients who need a wide variety of care.”

Thompson and Borgerding also emphasized that delaying or avoiding necessary care altogether — emergency or otherwise — can lead to significant worsening of time-sensitive health problems.

“We’ve also heard that sometimes people are deciding to not go to the hospital or clinic because they don’t want to take up resources a patient with COVID-19 might need,” Dr. Thompson said. “While it’s very admirable to care for your neighbors like that, it’s very important that people know we’re very able to do both — safely — when needed.”

Borgerding added, “It’s understandable that this unique pandemic has changed what is normal in our daily lives. But delaying needed care can cause more problems later. Your hospitals and clinics are there for you when you need them. If you think it’s an emergency, don’t think twice — go to the hospital. For other concerns you should contact your health provider, who wants to make sure you get the services you need.”

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