Cookeville Regional Medical Center’s Emergency Room patient numbers have climbed back to normal levels.
During the early days of the pandemic, emergency room visits dropped 50 percent. Emergency Room Physician Ken Colaric said most patients were too afraid to go after seeing virus reports in the media.
“When the COVID event initiated, I think a lot of people were fearful,” Colaric said. “They were seeing things on the TV as far as these emergency departments overrun with critically ill COVID patients. Our numbers dropped.”
Colaric said the CRMC emergency room admitted over 60 patients on average per day. He said now it’s 138 with an average 18 minute wait, two minutes below the national average.
Facilities across the country have seen a similar increase in patients.
“We were still seeing the critically ill patients,” Colaric said. “We were still seeing the heart attacks, the car crashes, and the stroke patients. What was not coming into the emergency department were the lacerations, the sore throats, the rashes-the things where people try to avoid going to a hospital.”
Many emergency rooms reported patients were waiting too long to be treated out of fear about COVID-19.
“The emergency department is a safe environment to go to to get your emergency care,” Colaric said. “By all means, don’t delay seeking care. If you’ve got an emergency, get it seen.”
Colaric said a recent study shows a health care worker is more likely to contract the virus at home then at the hospital. He said because hospitals have stringent protocols, requirements, and screening processes, it’s less likely to contract the virus at the hospital.