The COVID-19 pandemic is scary. It can be unsettling to go to the grocery store, let alone to a hospital.

But don't let a fear of contracting COVID-19, or a concern about overwhelming healthcare workers, stop you from going to the hospital if you are feeling sick.

According to a press release from UCHealth, there has been a startling decrease, up to 40%, in the number of patients their hospitals are seeing in their emergency departments, and this is creating a huge problem.

"People are not coming into the emergency department when they should be coming into the emergency department. I tell people [that] anything you would've come to see us before, you should come now," said Dr. James Teumer, an emergency medicine physician at UCHealth, in our "Tuned In to NoCo" interview. "Because if you're waiting, you're putting off the ability for us to treat what's wrong with you, and in some cases, it's very devastating."

UCHealth is taking every precaution to protect their patients, so much so that Teumer asserts the public has a better chance of catching COVID-19 "by going out into the general public...than to catch it from us."

These precautions include masking patients, placing coronavirus patients into negative-pressure rooms (which stop the virus from spreading outside of the room), and isolating patients without COVID-19 symptoms from those that have, or might have, the virus.

For those who are feeling guilty about placing unnecessary pressure on healthcare workers, don't. They want to help you, especially if you are worried about your symptoms.

"If you really have a fever and you're really short of breath, we're genuinely concerned, and you need to get in there. If you're...vomiting or [have] diarrhea and you're dehydrated, you need to come see us," said Dr. Teumer. "This is what we do. This is what we want to do. This is what we love to do."

To learn more about this issue and how you can continue to protect yourself amidst the pandemic, listen to the full "Tuned In to NoCo" interview with Dr. Teumer below.

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