Is it safe to go to hospitals, clinics for non-COVID needs?

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OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – Doctors with INTEGRIS Medical Group say they’re seeing more people avoiding their routine check-ups due to the COVID-19 pandemic – a practice very dangerous to your own health.

“That’s a bad thing. Heart failure gets out of control, you could die. Your emphysema or COPD gets out of control, you can die. With diabetes, if you go into a coma, you know, your kidney disease could get worse, that’s related to that,” said Jeffrey Cruzan, M.D. President of INTEGRIS Medical Group. “You could have a heart attack or stroke. All these are things that you hopefully keep at bay by you coming in and routinely seeing us.”

David Chansolme, M.D., INTEGRIS Medical Director Infection Prevention says you need to take care of your health, even with the pandemic in full swing.

“It’s dangerous not to take care of your other health needs,” Chansolme said. “Just because you don’t have coronavirus doesn’t mean we don’t want to see you. We love seeing our patients.”

For many people, the hospital or clinic can seem like a daunting place to go to during the pandemic. But Cruzan says, it’s actually the opposite.

INTEGRIS Baptist Hospital in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

“In my opinion, it’s safer to come to a doctor’s office, to go to the hospital, than it is to go out in public because we disinfect everything over and over again through the day,” he said.

Hospitals are also not using waiting rooms. Instead, if an exam room is not available at that moment, you are asked to wait in your car until you are called to come into an exam room.

“So that you’re not really being exposed to anybody,” said Cruzan, adding that you are escorted wherever you need to go once inside.

You do undergo a screening process, which consists of getting your temperature taken and then answering some questions. If anything of concern comes up, you will be asked to go back to your car where you will be called to see if it is safe for you to be seen or if you should monitor yourself at home.

If you are told to monitor at home, you can be set up with virtual visits to a doctor.

If you are told to monitor at home, you can be set up with virtual visits to a doctor. Image via Pexels

“At least maintain some sort of idea how you’re doing with those illnesses and whether or not we truly do need to bring you back into the office and be seen,” said Cruzan.

You will be asked to wear a mask if you are not already, but you should be wearing one anyways, Cruzan urged, especially in public.

“So, we put all these things in place to protect you and ourselves,” he said. “We really go out of our way to make sure we have a safe environment for you when you go in to be seen.”

If you are still unsure, you can always call your doctor to see if a telehealth visit is possible, says Chansolme.

“The bottom line is, if you think you need help, the health care system is here to help you. That’s what we do. We don’t care if you have COVID or something else,” Chansolme said.

Click here for INTEGRIS’ COVID-19 resources.

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