The COVID-19 pandemic has effectively crippled the operations of healthcare systems not only in the United States, but in the rest of the world as well. In an effort to focus more on the patients who contracted the virus, many hospitals, emergency rooms, and healthcare facilities have temporarily suspended tending to non-essential surgeries and medical procedures.
The same goes for patients, too. ER physicians are starting to notice an alarming decrease in patients coming into healthcare facilities for serious non-COVID issues like heart attack and stroke. This worries physicians as many patients may be choosing to stay at home even when they’re in dire need of emergency care out of fear of getting inflicted with the virus.
If you happen to encounter an urgent or emergency situation unrelated to COVID-19 and think that you need immediate care, there shouldn’t be any reason why you should wait. But it’s important to know the level of care you need, so in case that you necessitate urgent care, you can get the appropriate treatment and allow hospitals to make the best use of their available resources.
Medical emergencies you shouldn’t ignore
If you have a medical emergency, regardless if it’s related or unrelated to COVID-19, it’s imperative that you call 911 and go to the emergency room. This includes experiencing any injury or illness for which a lack of immediate care may inflict further harm.
This can include the following:
- Difficulty breathing
- Severe vomiting or diarrhea
- Coughing or throwing up blood
- Passing out or fainting
- Cardiac arrest
- Severe chest pain or pressure
- Sudden weakness on one side of the body
- Broken bones
- Deep wounds
- Heavy bleeding
- Severe burns
- Severe allergic reaction
- Accidental poisoning or overdose
- Electrical shock
- Head injury with fainting or confusion
- Neck or spine injury with a loss of feeling or movement
- Suicidal ideation and intentions
It should be noted that when emergency care is needed, Medicare-certified facilities with emergency departments are mandated to provide COVID-19 medical screening before allowing patients to enter the facility. Many health care centers have tents and temporary structures outside to identify and isolate those with the virus.
Emergency vs urgent care
It’s up to you to make a judgment call to decide if what you’re experiencing requires emergency or urgent care. As per the American Academy of Urgent Care Medicine (AAUCM), urgent care services are for the treatment of conditions that would not result in further disability or death if not treated right away. This service is typically less costly compared to emergency rooms.
Urgent care centers are qualified to provide treatment to the following:
- minor injuries
- minor infections
You must understand that at a time like this, hospitals and other healthcare facilities are funneling most of their resources to alleviate the COVID-19 pandemic. You can help physicians and healthcare professionals to create your own pandemic game plan in the event of an emergency. If you’re based in New Jersey and require urgent care, Agile Urgent Care is here for you and your family 365 days a year.