Indy hospitals see a drop in ER visits during COVID-19 crisis

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – Despite being in the middle of a pandemic, ER visits to Peyton Manning Children’s Hospital are down by 60% since the crisis first hit Indiana.

“People are scared of contracting COVID-19 and really that is unlikely to happen,” said Dr. Mitchell Goldman, an ER physician at Peyton Manning Children’s Hospital at Ascension St. Vincent.

Dr. Goldman says that’s due to contactless check-in, staff wearing masks and protective gear, visitor restrictions and decreased interaction in the waiting room.

Despite the precautions, Dr. Goldman understands people’s apprehension but warns the risk of not going to the ER and potentially causing more harm to an injury is also a concern.

Megan Tuney, a mother of three from Greenfield, Indiana, knows that risk first hand after her youngest child, Grace, broke her arm falling off a swing set during a virtual field trip.

“I was about to jump off the swings but then I second-guessed myself and then I just flipped off,” said Grace.

Megan says she knew her daughter was in pain.

“All I could think about was what is it going to be like when we get to the hospital? But, as soon as we pulled up in the ER everybody approached us, we didn’t have to approach anybody, they gave us our masks, took our temperatures,” Megan added.

Dr. Goldman says they started putting extra precautious in place in late March before the state’s stay-at-home order was put into effect.

“We have it down to a science now. In this day in age, we don’t know who has COVID-19 and who doesn’t, so we put safety first and do it the same way every time,” Dr. Goldman added.

He also says he’s seeing summer injuries happening earlier because kids are at home and not at school, but because they aren’t in school, viral infections outside of COVID-19 are down.

Ascenion St. Vincent Hospital is not allowing homemade masks inside their hospital and professional buildings and is instead giving patients and visitors who meet their restrictions a professional mask.

Area hospitals may differ so it’s a good idea to check your local ER to understand their COVID policies if and when an emergency does happen.