HAMPTON ROADS, Va. (WAVY) — As people try to avoid the coronavirus, they’re also avoiding sometimes necessary care. 911 calls and emergency room visits are down across the country.
10 On Your Side’s Kiahnna Patterson found out that’s also the case for trips to urgent care.
Urgent care centers are experiencing about a 60% drop in visits compared to last year, according to the Urgent Care Association.
Alan Ayers, the CEO of Velocity Urgent Care, said that number is about the same here in Hampton Roads.
Velocity partnered with Sentara Healthcare to provide drive- thru COVID-19 testing at locations in Newport News, Norfolk, Suffolk and Virginia Beach.
“We’ve had a very steady flow of patients, through the drive- up facilities. A lot of people are just grateful to be able to get some relief and know their results. We’ve seen quite a few very sick people that we’ve been able to provide some correction,” Ayers said.
However, other health issues haven’t stopped since the pandemic began. Ayers is concerned that people who put off care for minor things, could end up with more serious problems.
“A urinary tract infection can go up into the kidneys, seasonal allergies can lead to bronchitis,” Ayers said. “A lot of people are kind of doing do-it-yourself care, they are forgoing care, they are waiting and that is not necessarily the best thing to do. We would really encourage people that urgent care is available. It’s clean, its safe and if they have minor medical issues to not neglect their health. Don’t sit on your health issues.”
Ayers says some people assume they are closed, while others are afraid of possible exposure to the coronavirus.
“The concern is, we know people are not getting health care at the level that they were prior to the crisis for non-COVID related things. That is very dangerous,” Ayers said. “We are really in this situation, where we know people are not coming in to urgent care, primary care is closed, they are not going to the ER.”