Local doctor says unrelated COVID-19 hospital visits down but severity up

Local News

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) — Similar to what’s happening around the country, doctors at Mercy San Juan in Sacramento say they have seen a significant drop in patients coming in for emergency services or primary care. 

In March, when shelter-in-place orders were first implemented, hospitals prepared for a surge and influx of patients. But now, according to Mercy San Juan, there were nearly half as many hospital visits unrelated to COVID-19 compared to last year. 

On their lowest days, hospital staff said they’ve seen a 60% drop compared to 2019. 

“The intensity of illness, you know, how sick the patient is when they come to the emergency department is significantly higher,” said emergency physician Dr. Nicki Braxley. “I think this is possibly attributed to the fact that people are waiting a little bit too long to seek medical care and by the time they make it to us, they are a lot more sick then they would have been had they come a little bit earlier.”

Staff at Mercy San Juan said they’ve seen a reduced number of patients at most Dignity Health hospitals.

They now want people to know they have safety precautions in place and are also offering virtual visits, which have also increased since the pandemic started. 

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