SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WCIA)– Doctors around the nation are voicing concerns about people delaying the care they need due to COVID-19. Central Illinois is no exception. Now, emergency personnel in one city said they are getting more emergency calls about health issues that could turn deadly if they are put off too long.

Springfield Fire Department Chief Allen Reyne said 911 emergency calls were down in March and April but emergency medical calls concerning major heart issues are going up.

“It seems like we were getting dispatched more often on cardiac arrests or out of hospital cardiac arrest. It just sounded like we were going to more of those,” Reyne said. “We looked over our last three months of this year and compared that and it is a small sample that we compared to the previous few years in those two to three month windows of the same time frame and we found they are up, it is considerably higher. In some cases, up to 40 percent higher.”

Reyne said he is concerned people are not seeking the medical attention they need out of fears of COVID-19. Experts said those fears can make your condition worse.

“When they have delayed their care, they are coming in sicker so we are trying to encourage patients and families that it is important to make sure that you are presenting to the hospital and seeking medical attention when needed. We are here, we are ready and we have put many measures in place to keep everyone safe,” said Allison Paul, HSHS Illinois Nurse Executive.

Although the threat of infection could be present anytime you leave your home. Reyne said concerns about contracting them from a health facility have not materialized here.

” I talked to the Sangamon County Department of Public Health about this- through their contact tracing, they have not been able to source anyone seeking treatment or care as positive for COVID,” Reyne said.

The CDC said emergency department visits went down 42 percent in March and April nationally.
They warn that delaying care for serious conditions could lead to complications or death.