EDITORIAL: Don’t let COVID-19 fears keep you from seeking medical help

Hospitals, clinics cleaned regularly, maintain strict protocols

‘If you are sick and need help, hospitals are safe and ready to look after you.”

These words were posted on Twitter by a Calgary cardiologist in April, after he had been unable to save a patient the previous night because, he said, that person had waited too long to seek help.

One of the unfortunate side effects of this global health crisis has been the unnecessary toll it is taking on people with medical conditions entirely unrelated to the coronavirus.

RELATED: Greater Victoria emergency room visits down 40 per cent during pandemic

RELATED: Hidden death toll: Doctors say people dying as they avoid ERs due to COVID fears

People have not stopped suffering heart attacks, strokes, serious falls or seizures simply because we are in the midst of a pandemic, notes Dr. Alan Drummond, with the Canadian Association of Emergency Physicians.

Many are not seeking the help they desperately need. And it’s happening, medical professionals say, for a few reasons.

Patients report being afraid of contracting COVID-19 as one reason for avoiding visiting a hospital or clinic. But many also have voiced concerns about overloading the system or inadvertently transmitting the virus to medical staff.

In B.C., hospital visits for non COVID-19 related issues are starting to rebound after dropping sharply in March and April, but there are people who remain fearful.

Some of our readers have asked us why we don’t publish numbers of COVID-19 patients at Peace Arch Hospital, so that they know whether it’s safe to go there. One reason we don’t is that the health authority doesn’t provide them. Unless there is an outbreak or another reason for the public to take added precautions, cases are announced only by health region, not by individual hospital.

Part of the logic behind that, it would seem, is to avoid causing undue levels of concern among residents about seeking medical attention if they feel they need it.

We’re assured that hospitals and other medical facilities are among the safest places to be right now, because of the level of care that goes into cleaning them and ensuring that proper protocols are in place.

It’s human nature, of course, to be anxious in situations we perceive as possible threats to our lives or safety, and not having all the information we want can certainly add to that stress.

But when we don’t have the level of control we’d like, we must rely on the experts put in place to help keep us safe.

So far, here in B.C., we think that faith has been well-founded.

For more news from the Island and beyond delivered directly to your email inbox, click here.

CoronavirusEditorials

Just Posted

A sentencing hearing began for Joel Conway who was convicted of break and enter and sexual assault last year. (Kendra Crighton/News Staff)
Saanich man sentenced to three years in prison for breaking into woman’s home and sexually assaulting her

Crown is asking Joel Conway be sentenced to four years for both charges, to be served concurrent

Victoria fire crews quickly extinguished a multi-unit apartment building fire near Beacon Hill Park on Oct. 30. (Courtesy of Chief Paul Bruce)
Victoria fire crews extinguish multi-unit fire near Beacon Hill Park

Two people have suffered non-life-threatening injuries

Elianna Tory, 5, was surprised with a brand new toy Jeep by 642 Jeeps, a group of off-roading enthusiasts, after hers was stolen outside her home in early October. (Andrew Gaetz photo)
Sooke girl left speechless after Island off-road community replaces stolen toy Jeep

Sooke area Facebook group hunted far and wide before locating new toy in Vernon, BC

Cat owners are being warned to keep their pets indoors after a threatening note was found posted in a North Saanich neighbourhood. (Kendra Crighton/News Staff)
ROAM warns Peninsula cat owners after threatening note posted in neighbourhood

Note writer doesn’t want cats pooping in their yard, threatens to trap them

A study by SlotsOnlineCanada notes there is at least 88 hours of top-rated horror movies for Canadians to consume this Halloween. (Unsplash)
Spooks and Chill study reveals Canada’s favourite horror flicks

88 hours of top-rated horror movies can fill COVID-19 Halloween

Physical distancing signs are a common sight in B.C. stores and businesses. THE CANADIAN PRESS
272 more COVID-19 cases for B.C., outbreak at oil sands project

Three new health care outbreaks, three declared over

This house at 414 Royal Ave. became notorious for its residents’ and visitors’ penchant for attracting police. It was also the site of a gruesome torture in August 2018. It was demolished in 2019. KTW
6-year sentence for Kamloops man who helped carve ‘rat’ into flesh of fellow gang member

Ricky Dennis was one of three men involved in the August 2018 attack

Cpl. Nathan Berze, media officer for the Mission RCMP, giving an update on the investigation at 11:30 a.m., Oct. 30. Patrick Penner photo.
VIDEO: Prisoner convicted of first-degree murder still at large from Mission Institution

When 10 p.m. count was conducted, staff discovered Roderick Muchikekwanape had disappeared

Among the pumpkin carvings created this year by Rick Chong of Abbotsford is this tribute to fallen officer Cont. Allan Young.
Abbotsford pumpkin carver’s creations include fallen police officer

Rick Chong carves and displays 30 pumpkins every year

An online fundraising campaign in support of the six-year-old boy, Edgar Colby, who was hit by a car on Range Road Oct. 25 has raised more than $62,000 in a day. (Submitted)
$62K raised in 1 day for boy in coma at BC Children’s after being hit by vehicle in Yukon

The boy’s aunt says the family is “very grateful” for the support they’ve received from the community

Julia Strobach. File Photo
Nearing seventh anniversary, Comox Valley RCMP continue search for Julia Strobach

“We know that someone has information that will help us locate her.”

Police service dog Herc helped RCMP locate and arrest suspects in the Ladysmith area on Oct. 23, 2020, related to a stolen vehicle. (Submitted)
RCMP nab prolific property offender in Ladysmith with assist from police dog Herc

Police attempted to stop the vehicle but it fled from the area towards Chemainus.

Health care employees take extensive precautions when working with people infected or suspected of having COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young
WorkSafeBC disallows majority of COVID-19 job injury claims

Health care, social services employees filing the most claims

John Albert Buchanan, accused in the September 2017 murder of Richard Sitar in Nanaimo, is currently standing trial in B.C. Supreme Court in Nanaimo. (News Bulletin file)
Man accused in Nanaimo beating death told police he didn’t hurt victim

Arresting officer takes the stand in John Albert Buchanan’s second-degree murder trial

Most Read