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Healthcare in a Pandemic: What You Need to Know

Man wearing white coat and surgical mask reviews notes with woman sitting on patient exam table wearing polka dot blouse and surgical mask
August 27, 2020

With the global spread and fallout of COVID-19, this year has brought a new “normal” to almost every facet of life.  

Since March, when the US began to see COVID-19 in greater numbers, the number of emergency room visits has dropped nationwide. In fact, numbers from March 29 – April 25, 2020 show a 42% decline in emergency room visits compared with a similar period in 2019, according to the CDC.

Health researchers think that individuals are avoiding medical facilities – even when they need care – for fear of contracting the coronavirus.

When to Seek Care

Throughout the COVID-19 crisis, public health messaging has largely urged people to stay home if they are sick with mild illness. This messaging is correct. However, those who have health emergencies or severe illness should not hesitate to seek medical care. 

Mild to moderate symptoms of COVID-19 include:

  • Cough
  • Fever
  • Shortness of breath
  • Headache
  • Body aches
  • Diarrhea

Certain symptoms may indicate a more severe illness – time to call 911 or visit the emergency room. Symptoms of severe COVID-19 illness include:

  • Trouble breathing (feel you can’t catch your breath)
  • Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
  • New confusion
  • Inability to wake or stay awake
  • Bluish lips or face


Other Emergency Conditions

While we deal with the coronavirus, normal life goes on. This means people will still have the health emergencies and needs they have in any other time. There is some evidence to suggest that people who experience cardiac events or strokes are not seeking the care they need during this crisis. Of course, this avoidance can have dire consequences, including serious complications and even death. If you experience symptoms of a stroke or heart attack, or any other serious health event, do not hesitate to seek care.

Chronic Conditions and Regular Screenings

Similar to the decline in emergency visits – many healthcare systems are seeing fewer patients for regular health management.

Aging patients or those with chronic conditions should keep up with their regular screenings and check-ups. For some visits, telehealth, or virtual visits may be an option. Ask your provider’s office if a virtual consultation would be appropriate for your visit.

Patient Safety is Our Priority at KRMC

Regular healthcare is just as important as ever. In our hospital and outpatient clinics, KRMC takes many measures to limit the spread of illness and keep patients safe, including:

Screening and hand hygiene at entrances

When any employee, patient, or visitor enters the hospital, our screeners take their temperature using a no-touch thermometer and remind them to sanitize their hands. We have sanitizer available at all entrances and throughout the hospital and clinics.

Disinfection and sterilization

As always, our Environmental Services department works diligently to ensure the cleanliness and safety of patient areas, including waiting rooms. Patient rooms are cleaned in between each patient visit.

Visitor restrictions

Since March, KRMC has restricted hospital entrances, only allowing access to those screened at the main entrances. KRMC has restricted visitation, only allowing one visitor during visitation hours in the hospital.

Masking and social distancing

All patients, visitors, and employees must wear a mask in public and clinical areas of the hospital. In our waiting rooms, we have created space for individuals to maintain physical distance from one another to lower the risk of illness.

As the COVID-19 crisis evolves, KRMC continues to monitor the relevant data to inform our policies and protocols. We take the health and safety of our community seriously. If you have concerns about coming to our facilities for care, please reach out to your provider’s office to discuss those concerns.

For more information about KRMC’s response to COVID-19, visit our website at



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