TWIN FALLS, Idaho — Regular wellness checkups are essential, regardless if there is a pandemic or not. However, some people are still hesitant to go to their local clinic or hospital because of concerns over the coronavirus, and doctors say leaving symptoms of other pre-existing conditions untreated can harm your well-being.
Vice President of Medical Affairs for St Luke's, Dr. Joshua Kern said, "Leaving your diabetes unmanaged for a month at a time has long term impacts on your well being. Not getting a stroke diagnosed has a long term impact on your recovery and those kinds of things."
Fortunately, the Magic Valley has seen a resurgence this past month in patients returning to their local healthcare provider for regular checkups. There was a significant drop from March to April, partly due to a large number of clinics being forced to close their doors.
However, there is still a concern among health officials about people participating in vaccinations. While numbers have remained relatively stable in the state, there has been a drop nationwide. Kern expressed that people should not put off vaccines, because it can result in other outbreaks of other diseases during the pandemic. This might be in part to people feeling an added layer of security with schools offering virtual options, so parents and students may feel there is no need to be vaccinated since a lot of time will be spent at home.
A majority of checkups and vaccinations can be done through one's primary health care provider, and officials encourage the public to take advantage of the opportunity, especially for the influenza shot.
"I think again the influenza vaccine is going to be incredibly important this year because what you don't want to do, heaven forbid, get coronavirus and influenza at the same time and get very sick," said Kern.
The majority of these facilities have many protocols in place for residents who still feel uneasy about going to their doctor's office or the hospital. They limit the number of occupants in the building, and patients are screened upon entry. A lot of these establishments also thoroughly sanitize regularly.
Some alternative options can also include telehealth services to remain in contact with a healthcare professional. St. Luke's even has separate clinics for those who might be COVID positive.
"Those with symptoms are actually sent to different clinics; we're not blending people who may or may not have COVID," said Kern.