Last week, the Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention released a study that found that emergency room visits
for chest pain and heart attacks fell sharply, while the number of
heart-attack deaths increased.
Officials from Memorial Health System, HSHS Illinois, Springfield
Clinic and SIU Medicine emphasized that extensive safety precautions
have been implemented at all medical facilities to detect and
isolate anyone who might have the virus from others.
Local medical leaders also echoed the CDC’s concern that some people
may be postponing care out of fear or anxiety. They urged people to
realize that delaying care could worsen a chronic condition or even
endanger lives during a medical crisis.
“We want to assure the public that it’s critical to seek care
without delay to ensure their continued good health,” said Dr. Raj
Govindaiah, Memorial Health System chief medical officer. “Our
hospitals and clinics are ready to treat you safely.”
“Medical emergencies can occur at any time, in any place and to
anyone – even in the midst of a pandemic,” said Dr. Gurpreet Mander,
chief physician executive for HSHS Illinois. “If you experience
symptoms or have an incident that is out of the ordinary, call your
doctor, visit the emergency department or call 911 depending on the
severity of your symptoms.”
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The four health-care providers are following
infection prevention guidelines from the Illinois Department of
Public Health. Among those precautionary measures are:
COVID-19 testing for anyone undergoing an invasive procedure or
surgery at least 72 hours beforehand.
Social distancing measures to keep people appropriately spaced,
including limiting the number of those who may enter at one time.
Masks are required for all, and at some locations, those entering
may have their temperatures screened.
Services such as drive-up labs and video or telephone visits to
limit in-person contact.
“We appreciate the understanding and compassion of our patients and
communities during this public-health crisis,” said Dr. Harald
Lausen, chief medical officer at SIU Medicine. “We are open, safe,
and ready to provide medical care and assist with your healing and
“Delaying needed care is the greatest risk our patients face right
now,” said Dr. Kenneth Sagins, chief medical officer for Springfield
Clinic. “Our goal from day one has been to create a safe environment
for our patients, because their need for our care never disappeared,
even in the face of a pandemic.”
[Dean Olsen | Media Relations
Consultant | Communications
Memorial Health System]