Some health care workers are working overtime right now and focused on COVID-19, but it’s left other areas of hospitals almost empty.
People who need emergency care for issues not related to the coronavirus are avoiding the emergency room because they don't want to bother the doctors, WSOC-TV reported.
"Several patients have said to us, 'I didn't want to inconvenience you,'" Dr. David Pearson, an emergency room physician with Atrium Health in Charlotte, North Carolina, told the news station.
Patients who suffer from heart attacks, strokes, car accidents and trauma still need to see a doctor.
“I think people believe that the emergency department is over capacity and that they’re going to have to wait and not be seen, and that is not the case," Pearson said.
Physicians have seen a delay in patients coming in.
Pearson said waiting means patients are risking their health and waiting reduces treatment options.
“There’s interventions that we can do early on that are going to result in a better outcome for patients," he said.
Pearson said now is not the time to try to wait out symptoms or gamble with one’s health.
“Please, please, please if you are feeling any symptoms that you think are potentially serious, come to the emergency department,” Pearson said.