As Whatcom County continues to focus on social distancing, handwashing and face masks to flatten the curve, PeaceHealth is beginning to plan for the future with a focus on safely returning to care and reopening services. While the medical center and clinics are not easing current practices related to safety and security that were implemented during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, physicians and leaders at PeaceHealth St. Joseph Medical Center and PeaceHealth Medical Group are beginning to look ahead to recovery efforts and want to remind the public not to delay seeking important health care.
In an April 29 news release, PeaceHealth said that one result of the pandemic may be that public perception has shifted on what constitutes necessary care. While stay-at-home orders are a large contributing factor, there is a growing concern among the health care community that patients, even those with severe illnesses, are avoiding hospitals out of fear. PeaceHealth noted that delays in seeking or not seeking care can have a detrimental impact on patient health, including more severe clinical findings, poorer outcomes and increased expenses related to postponing care.
“I am concerned that patients have been reluctant to seek medical care during the Covid-19 crisis,” stated Dr. Sudhakar Karlapudi, PeaceHealth St. Joseph Medical Center’s chief medical and patient safety officer. “My message to our community is as follows: Delaying necessary care can have detrimental consequences on your health. Stay safe, and if you think you need care, don’t delay.”
Safety remains a top priority at PeaceHealth facilities, which have adopted precautions based on the most recent recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to ensure that any Covid-19 patients are cared for safely and in strict isolation, away from general hospital areas.
PeaceHealth clinics and hospitals are open for necessary appointments, including recommended checkups and childhood immunizations. If you need care, call your provider’s office or contact your provider using the My PeaceHealth tool at my.peacehealth.org. Video visits with primary care providers, oncologists and OB-GYNs are now available. Always call 911 in case of an emergency, including symptoms of a stroke or heart attack.