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When to seek emergency medical care during the COVID-19 pandemic

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In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, medical emergencies and urgent situations unrelated to the virus are still happening. So, when do you seek emergency care during the pandemic? And how do you know you are safe?

Intermountain Healthcare is committed to making sure you have the safest experience possible. If you have a medical emergency, whether it is related or unrelated to COVID-19, you should first call 911, go to the emergency department and not delay treatment, advises Dr. Adam Balls, an emergency medicine physician and chairman of the emergency department at Intermountain Medical Center in Murray.

If you’re experiencing symptoms for common illnesses you would typically come to the emergency department for, please come to the hospital.

Dr. Balls said these symptoms include, but aren’t limited to:

  • Chest pain
  • Choking
  • Stroke-like symptoms
  • High fever
  • Shortness of breath
  • Broken bones
  • Deep wounds
  • Severe burns
  • Severe abdominal pain
  • Any life-threatening illness or injury

“We are taking every necessary precaution against exposure to COVID-19 to ensure the risk is extremely low,” he said. “Emergencies and other illnesses don’t stop during this time of COVID-19, that is why Intermountain has ensured we have the capacity, resources, and separate treatment areas to care for those presenting with other non-respiratory or infectious symptoms and injuries. If someone thinks they may have COVID-19, Emergency Departments have the capability to care for these patients, as well.”

Don’t delay care

For serious issues like chest pain, stroke like symptoms, high fever, shortness of breath, severe abdominal pain or any life threatening illness or injury, call 9-1-1. Your care will be expedited by the EMS team. Please don’t wait.

Before coming to the hospital ask about current rules for visitors

“We know it’s difficult for patients, their families and friends to be physically apart, particularly during a hospital stay when having loved ones near gives patients comfort and peace,” said Dr. Balls. “Intermountain recognizes the significant sacrifice families and friends are making to support visitor guidelines and help create a safe care environment in our facilities during this pandemic.”

Before coming to the hospital ask our caregivers and staff about current rules for visitors. Currently, there are no visitors allowed into the facility, except under the following circumstances:

  • End-of-life patients may have two total designated visitors while in the hospital. These two designated visitors may not switch with other individuals.
  • Obstetric patients may have only one designated visitor for their entire hospital stay. A doula counts as a designated visitor. A surrogate child’s adopting or biologic parent counts as a designated visitor.
  • Healthy newborn patients may have both parents as visitors.
  • Patients who are younger than 18 may have one visitor/guardian per 24 hours.
  • Patients who require assistance from another adult to stay safe may have one designated visitor who may stay with the patient in the facility throughout their stay.

Stay up-to-date

For additional information and ongoing updates on COVID-19 at Intermountain Healthcare, visit: https://intermountainhealthcare.org/covid19-coronavirus/

Please refer to local and state health departments and the CDC’s Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) hub.

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