City leader says it's safe to go to the ER for non-COVID-19 medical issues

Posted at 10:18 PM, May 21, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-21 22:18:37-04

NEW YORK — City Councilmember Mark Levine has a message for New Yorkers: our ERs are safe for non-coronavirus patients.

For several months, New York City hospitals have been besieged by coronavirus patients, with emergency rooms looking more like ICUs.

We’ve flattened the curve and eased up on capacity, but now a troubling new trend is emerging.

“People are not coming in for non-Covid issues. They’re scared,” said Levine. “They’re scared they’re going to be infected, but they shouldn’t be.”

Levine said some hospital emergency rooms are now half-empty.

“People are forgoing medical care who need it, and that is dangerous," he said. "Doctors and hospital leaders are calling me, they’re worried because they know their patients that need care are not coming in.”

People are terrified of contracting coronavirus if they step foot in a medical facility, and that’s keeping some with potentially life-threatening situations riding out the pain at home, he said.

Levine is himself a coronavirus survivor, and now often speaks out about public health.

“It’s much safer now to come to the ER. We’re not in crisis mode anymore. You don’t have to worry like you did a month ago about catching the virus,” said Levine. “If you need help, get it at your emergency room.”

Levine also wants people to know hospitals now have the room to separate non-coronavirus patients, and you won’t be denied emergency care based on citizenship, insurance status or ability to pay.