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Doctors urge patients to seek care as at-home death rates rise

POCATELLO, Idaho (KIFI/KIDK) - It's a catch 22: people are avoiding the doctor's office in order to avoid contracting the coronavirus, which doctors say is just as dangerous.

Fewer people are visiting their physicians and seeking emergency medical care. At the same time, cities across the U.S. are reporting a rise in people dying at home.

“Everyone is reporting just a huge decrease in the amount of people coming to their office. And while that’s good from a social distancing standpoint, it’s obvious that people aren’t getting the health care they need,” said Dan Snell, the Chief Medical Officer at the Portneuf Medical Center.

“We know though, that heart attacks and strokes and other medical issues aren’t going to stop,” said Curtis Sandy, the director of Emergency Medical Services at PMC.

Doctors are worried people who need medical attention are too afraid to seek it out.

Snell believes people should find a balance between battling the virus and maintaining health.

“First of all, if it is an emergency, absolutely come in. We have great processes to keep everyone safe," Snell said.

“We wear masks a hundred percent of the time. All patients are masked. Their rooms are disinfected thoroughly between patient visits,” Sandy said.

Patients should contact their doctor or physician and find out if telehealth conferences are an option, Snell said.

Avoiding necessary medical care can lead to permanent problems, so doctors at the Portneuf Medical Center want to urge people to seek the proper care.

“Just because we have this pandemic doesn’t mean that diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, psychiatric illness have gone away. Those things are still there,” Snell said.

Snell offers live Q&A's about the coronavirus on the PMC's Facebook page every weekday at 3:30 p.m. You can see the most recent video here.

Coronavirus Coverage / Idaho / Local News / Pocatello / Top Stories / Videos
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Emma Iannacone

Emma is a reporter for Local News 8 and KIDK Eyewitness News 3.


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