Is It Safe to Visit the Emergency Room During the Pandemic?

Whether it’s groceries, restaurants, or home goods, most businesses have found the need to reduce foot traffic. Americans are advised to stay home and use delivery services whenever possible. However, while virtual visits are an option for your primary care physician, there is no at-home substitute for emergency care. Emergency medicine can only be provided in-person.

If you’ve experienced a medical emergency, you need treatment as soon as possible. And many people are concerned that emergency rooms increase an individual’s COVID exposure. In fact, nationwide emergency room visits decreased by 42% in the early stages of the pandemic. So, is it safe to visit an emergency room during the COVID-19 pandemic?

How Hospitals and Clinics Are Staying Safe

The fear of catching the coronavirus infection in a medical center is not entirely unfounded. After all, sick people go to hospitals. But health systems were actually some of the first businesses to update their SOPs (standard operating procedures) in response to the coronavirus outbreak. 

Some ways that Emergicare ensures the safety of staff and patients include:

  • Facemasks – Of course, face masks are required in most of Texas now. But before Governor Abbott’s mandate, emergency rooms installed a universal mask policy. This means all patients are required to wear masks and all health care professionals to wear PPE (personal protective equipment).
  • Screening – All hospitals and clinics require screening at the entrance. This usually means a survey of the patient's travel history and possible symptoms, as well as having their temperature checked. This also applies to clinic personnel.
  • Social distancing – Emergency rooms have been properly arranged to require a minimum distance of six feet from other patients.
  • Frequent disinfection – Already common in a hospital setting, all surfaces in the emergency room from the lobby to the reception area routinely cleaned and disinfected. You will never step foot in a room that hasn’t been meticulously disinfected.
  • Separate waiting areas for patients with COVID symptoms – Patients who have COVID symptoms need access to emergency care as well. To protect everyone else, there are isolated waiting areas specifically for patients who may have coronavirus.

How Can You Protect Yourself From Coronavirus in the Emergency Room?

Even with all the steps, we take to keep our emergency room safe, you should still take precautions to protect yourself. These precautions are the same as what you should be doing in other public settings, including:

  • Wearing a facemask covering your mouth and nose
  • Avoid touching your face, especially eyes, nose, and mouth
  • Keep a six-foot distance between yourself and others
  • Wash your hands with soap and water or hand sanitizer for at least 20 seconds after touching any surfaces or other people

What Symptoms Require Immediate Emergency Care?

Not all symptoms require immediate medical attention. However, if you’re experiencing any of the following symptoms, you should find your nearest emergency room:

  • Heart attack symptoms, including chest pain or pressure; pain in the extremities; shortness of breath; or nausea or lightheadedness
  • Stroke signs and symptoms, such as a drooping face, weakness in the extremities, or slurred speech. Other signs include sudden numbness, confusion, vision difficulties, difficulty walking, or sudden headache
  • Fainting, dizziness, or extreme fatigue
  • Head or spinal injury
  • Motor vehicle accident injuries
  • Internal or uncontrolled bleeding
  • Severe vomiting or diarrhea

What COVID-19 Symptoms Require Emergency Attention?
If you experience the following symptoms, you should seek emergency care immediately. 

  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest pain or pressure
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Recent confusion
  • Blue lips or face

If you suspect you may have COVID, you absolutely must alert the emergency room and any medical personnel you may encounter.

You Can Still Go to the Emergency Room During COVID

It’s important to take every precaution during the coronavirus pandemic, but you cannot ignore emergency situations. If you think you require emergency medical care, Emergicare is meticulously following the disinfection procedures previously outlined in this article. If you follow your own precautions, you will not be at risk of catching coronavirus when you visit our facility. Give us a call at (281) 572-5505 or visit us at 2409 Falcon Pass today.