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Published on May 04, 2020

Don't Put Off Emergency Care: Why It's Important and How We're Keeping You Safe

Don't Put Off Emergency Care

Chief Operating Officer Mary Jo Cagle, MD, talks about why you shouldn't put off care for emergency situations like heart attacks and strokes in this week's 2 Your Well-Being discussion with WFMY News 2.

What is the damage in delaying emergency care?

“We don't want anyone to delay getting care if you're having chest pain or symptoms of a stroke, because the longer you wait, the greater the damage can be. And it might even be irreversible. We have great technology - if you come in right away with symptoms of a heart attack or a stroke, we may be even able to completely reverse or prevent that damage, whereas if you delay coming in, you may have damage that's completely irreversible."

What steps is Cone Health putting into place in the emergency rooms to keep people safe and prevent the spread of COVID-19?

“We're doing some very specific things. I know that many of your viewers have heard that we've created a special hospital just for our COVID-19 patients on Green Valley at the old Women's Hospital - it's now [called] the Green Valley Campus. So all of our patients who are diagnosed with COVID-19 have a very specially designed hospital where they're being treated. So we have that hospital, where all of those patients are kept, but in our emergency rooms, we have special processes for cleaning for our environmental services. Staff are specially trained to use ultraviolet light for cleaning and bleach for cleaning, and we have them dedicated just to our emergency departments for cleaning. We also are giving special attention to hand hygiene and wearing gloves. You will see all of our staff wearing masks at all times, and if a patient arrives, they'll be offered a mask to wear at that time.”

Is there anything else that we should know to expect if we go to the emergency room?

“We're only allowing the patient in - we're not bringing in family. We're asking the family to stay outside, but to stay in contact with them, we're taking a phone number and our staff is texting the family to let them know what's going on with the care of their loved one while they're there. So that's a difference that you'll notice."

How likely is someone to be exposed to COVID-19 in a hospital emergency room?

“What we do know is that it's very unlikely for anyone to get COVID-19 if you're six feet apart. So one of the things we're working on in all of our waiting rooms is to make certain that people stay six feet apart. That's why we're also giving people masks."

What is the danger in contracting COVID-19 from hospital staff?

“So there are two things going on there. The staff will all be wearing masks and gloves, and we require every morning or evening when the staff come in for their shifts... we're screened to see if we are having symptoms, if we have been exposed, and if we have, we're asked to stay home and we're tested. So we've done an extra layer of protection beyond the mask and the gloves - we're actually being screened before we're allowed to come in."

2 Your Well-Being

Cone Health and WFMY News 2 are excited to partner together to provide health and wellness information for you and your family. Watch Cone Health experts on television and online.

Tune in to WFMY News 2 every Monday to watch health segments on a variety of wellness topics.

Ask providers your questions during our live web chats on the third Wednesday of each month at 4 p.m. on the WFMY Facebook page.