Millions of Americans are delaying health care during COVID-19

here’s why you should not

There’s no getting around it: COVID-19 is scary, but skipping your doctor’s visit or emergency care can be even scarier.

According to a recent report from the Centers for Disease Control, an estimated 41% of American say they’ve delayed or avoided seeking routine or emergency care due to concerns over COVID-19.

That number is concerning for health care leadership at McLaren Northern Michigan. “Putting off care over fear of contracting COVID-19 can lead to progression of chronic diseases,” said Quentin Doperalski, DO, Infectious Diseases physician at McLaren Northern Michigan. “It is important to keep your essential appointments with your doctor to manage medical conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, cancer treatments plus prenatal care and pediatric appointments, especially those related to immunizations.”

The CDC survey also points to another concerning statistic: The highest rate of people putting off medical care was found among Black and Hispanic adults, people with disabilities, and those with two or more underlying conditions.

“If you have any concerning symptoms you should not avoid going to the emergency room or calling 911,” said Dr. Doperalski. “Some medical conditions may require time-sensitive interventions or surgeries, which can only be provided in an emergency room or hospital setting.”

McLaren Northern Michigan is continuing to follow intensely vigilant safety standards, including staff wearing proper PPE, patients and visitors being screened for COVID-19 symptoms upon entry, and cleaning of high-touch areas. “We are having our patients following some of the same safety precautions as our staff while in the emergency room or hospital,” said Dr. Doperalski. “All patients, visitors, and staff are being screened for COVID symptoms, are expected to wear facial coverings or a mask and follow the same hand hygiene policies. McLaren Northern Michigan facilities are taking special care to protect all our patients and now, their visitors.”

In extreme cases, patients who have put off care may find their treatment options are limited due to their condition progressing. “Don’t delay your care,” said Dr. Doperalski. “If you are experiencing an emergency and need health care, the emergency room and hospital are safe places for you to receive care.”

McLaren Northern Michigan is here and ready to take care of our community. If you are in need of a primary care provider or specialist, call us today at (800) 248-6777 or visit