Sharp decrease in "regular" emergency room visits in NL

Emergency rooms in the Netherlands are noticing a sharp decrease in the number of non-coronavirus patients. Doctors are worried that patients who need help are staying away out of fear of the coronavirus, Annemarie van Velden of the Dutch Association for Emergency Room Doctors said to broadcaster NOS.

According to Van Velden, emergency room doctors report that they are seeing about half the patients they normally see. And some of those patients are people with coronavirus, so the number of "regular" emergency room visits is down by around 75 percent, she estimated.

The decrease can partly be explained by fewer sports related injuries and traffic accidents, as people work from home and avoid playing group sports due to restrictions to curb the spread of the coronavirus. But other 'regulars' in the emergency room should not be decreasing - where are the appendicitis patients, or people with chest pains or strokes, the doctors wonder.

The doctors are worried that people are not coming in out of fear of contracting the coronavirus, or because they do not want to over tax the healthcare system. But this is unnecessary, Van Velden stressed. Covid-19 patients are kept separate from other patients to avoid cross-infection. And while doctors and nurses are very busy at this stage, you should still come in if you are ill. Or at least call your GP, Van Velden said.