The mayor of Hartford is urging residents who need emergency medical care to seek it as soon as they need it and not hesitate to go to a hospital for fear that they could contract COVID-19.
“I know that we've been asking everyone to stay home for your safety and I know that some people are worried about going to the hospital because they think that presents a risk of getting the coronavirus, but if you're at risk of cardiac arrest or of any number of other health conditions, your risk is far greater if you decide not to seek medical care than if you go to the hospital. ..." Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin said Tuesday.
The mayor said the information is preliminary, but there was an increase in April in the number of calls to first responders for cardiac arrests and the number of people who died before first responders could provide care was up too.
In April 2019, there were 13 calls for service for people who went into cardiac arrest, Bronin said..
In April 2020, there were 44 calls for cardiac arrest and 32 people passed away before first responders arrived, the mayor said.
The mayor said they do not fully understand the reason for the increase, but mentioned some possibilities.
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One is that there could be more cardiac arrests because the virus is affecting people’s hearts.
Another possibility is that people are waiting too long to go to the hospital or the emergency room.
“If you have any symptoms of cardiac arrest or you have any reason to think you’ve got an urgent medical condition that requires emergency care, please seek that emergency care. Call 911. Go to the emergency room,” Bronin said.
He said the hospitals are outstanding and are taking precautions.
Last month, Dr. Comilla Sasson, an emergency medicine physician in Denver, told NBC News that she worried that people experiencing warning signs of life-threatening conditions were delaying seeking emergency help out of fear of going to coronavirus-strained emergency rooms.
Every minute a patient delays seeking medical help increases the chances of a worse outcome, including a heart attack, she told NBC News.
“If you get to the hospital within a few minutes, we can open up that heart vessel and get blood flowing to your heart, but if you delay even a few hours, that could be the difference between life and death,” she said.
NBC News also reported that delaying health care could also put more strain on the health care system in the long run.
“If people defer calling 911 for life-threatening emergencies or put off life-saving procedures because they’re afraid of getting exposed to the coronavirus in emergency rooms or hospitals, we can expect to see an increase in deaths among these people that is not reflected in COVID-19 death toll numbers,” Dr. Dhruv Kazi, a cardiologist at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston. Told NBC News.