SEATTLE – Kittitas Valley Healthcare has teamed up with more than 100 hospitals across the state to urge our communities not to put their health care on pause during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Clinics across the state have reported abnormally low volumes of patients seeking routine medical care. At the same time, visitors to the emergency department are arriving with more severe illness, having delayed care. The educational campaign is aimed at addressing the concerns that are keeping people from seeking appropriate care.

“We’ve heard that patients are afraid of contracting COVID from other patients in the hospital or that care teams won’t have time to care for them if it isn’t COVID-related,” Washington State Hospital Association (WSHA) President & CEO Cassie Sauer said. “Health care teams are taking steps to ensure people’s safety when they need to seek care – from screening to eliminating waiting rooms. Care is safe and available for you and your family. Please, don’t let your health become an emergency.”

“People are coming into our emergency room sicker because they were afraid to get care and as a result, their outcomes may not be as good,” state Kittitas Valley Healthcare Chief Medical Officer Kevin Martin, MD. “We’ve been working tirelessly to do everything we can to make sure that patients coming into the hospital, the clinics and our staff are safe and well cared for.”

Hospitals and health systems across the state will continue building awareness surrounding this issue for the next several weeks as part of their response to COVID-19.