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Out-of-hospital deaths, emergencies increase due to coronavirus pandemic, Michigan officials say

Health officials urge residents to seek help in medical emergencies

Caroline Maloney stands outside HonorHealth's Scottsdale Osborn Medical Center at the end of her overnight shift early Friday, June 26, 2020 in Scottsdale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Matt York)
Caroline Maloney stands outside HonorHealth's Scottsdale Osborn Medical Center at the end of her overnight shift early Friday, June 26, 2020 in Scottsdale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Matt York) (Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

LANSING, Mich. – Michigan health officials are reporting significant increases in out-of-hospital emergencies and deaths amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

MORE: Coronavirus in Michigan: Here’s what to know July 2, 2020

Compared to Michigan EMS data from 2019, out-of-hospital cardiac arrests increased by 43.3 percent this year between March 15 and May 23. Officials say out-of-hospital deaths recorded by EMS also increased by 62 percent between those dates.

Hospitals and medical centers were initially overwhelmed with COVID-19 patients when the pandemic hit in Michigan in March, which led people to avoid seeking care unrelated to COVID-19. Selective operations and procedures also ceased and some emergency departments slowed non-COVID operations during the beginning of the pandemic.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that visits to emergency centers declined by 42 percent nationally early on in the pandemic.

Emergency centers remain open and most selective operations have resumed at medical centers across Michigan. State health officials are urging residents to seek help in a medical emergency, even amid the pandemic.

“It is incredibly important that people not delay care, especially if they are having concerning symptoms like chest pain, difficulty breathing or dizziness,” Khaldun said. “Hospitals and EMS providers are working hard to keep patients safe, so please contact them if you are having a medical emergency.”

The CDC is still encouraging medical centers to meet with patients virtually wherever possible to decrease the spread of COVID-19.

Virus cases have been rising across the U.S. in recent weeks. Some states are reporting an increase of around 40,000 COVID-19 cases in just the last week.

Michigan has also seen a recent uptick in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations as the state begins to reopen.

Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer moved some counties into “high risk” categories due to recent spikes in COVID-19 cases. A number of these cases have been tied to outbreaks at bars and restaurants.

MORE: How people ignoring safety measures, packing into bars has led to COVID-19 spike

Gov. Whitmer announced Wednesday that indoor bar services in most of the state will close to prevent the spread of the virus.

Read our latest COVID-19 news here.


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