The District of Columbia has reported an increase in the number of deaths that are not related to the novel coronavirus from January-May compared to the same period of last year.
The announcement came from Dr. LaQuandra Nesbitt, director of DC Department of Health, who spoke at a press conference on Wednesday.
According to Nesbitt, DC has seen a 20-30 percent drop in patients who go to hospitals, and that is stemming from people’s hesitance of seeking medical care to avoid possible exposure to COVID-19.
There has been a 40 percent increase in “excess deaths” which surpasses the expected figure every year in the District between January and May. Out of the 40 percent, 54 percent have been linked to the coronavirus, while 46 percent have been caused by other health issues.
More patients have died from heart attacks, cancers, diabetes, strokes, pneumonia and overdoses.
Nesbitt warned that skipping appointments would make it hard to manage chronic conditions and diagnose new ones.
“Don’t delay care; don’t die of doubt. You need to know what’s happening to your body. And you need to be able to seek preventive health services,” Nesbitt said.
“We are seeing more individuals diagnosed with HIV at a late stage than we have previously seen in the District, which concerns us because we have made tremendous progress in HIV,” she added.
DC Health has been supporting a Don’t Delay Care campaign, where residents are urged to avoid “pausing their health.” “Delaying medical treatment could make your health situation worse and impact your ability to recover,” DC Hospital Association (DCHA) says, assuring that hospitals in the District are safe to visit.