Covid-19 fears keep people from hospitals, but doctors say call 911 for heart attack and stroke

April 22, 2020 / By Jacqueline Howard, CNN

(CNN) – As the world continues to fight the coronavirus pandemic, a message from health officials has been consistent and clear: stay home.

Yet in the case of a life-threatening medical emergency such as heart attack or stroke, the American Heart Association, the American College of Emergency Physicians and several other medical groups are urging people to still call 911 and go to the hospital.

In those emergencies, according to doctors, it’s OK to leave home.

In a joint statement on Wednesday, the eight medical groups noted concerns that some people with symptoms of heart attack, stroke and cardiac arrest are avoiding the hospital due to coronavirus fears. But they said doing so could be deadly.

“What we’ve seen over the course of the last six to eight weeks is that there are decreasing numbers of heart attacks and strokes showing up at US hospitals. That has also been reported in other places around the globe that have experienced Covid-19 epidemic,” said Dr. Robert Harrington, interventional cardiologist and president of the American Heart Association, who was among the authors of the joint statement. The statement described that hospitals are following protocols to sanitize facilities and keep Covid-19 patients away from other patients.


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