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COVID-19 outbreak drives hospital emergency department numbers to record lows


COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KRDO) -- Patients numbers in emergency departments in El Paso County are hitting record lows, with many people delaying life-saving treatment.

Hospitals, like UCHealth, normally treat 245 to 260 patients per day. Now, those numbers are dropping to 120 to 140 patients per day, a 50% decline.

Dr. David Steinbruner, associate chief medical officer at UCHealth Memorial, says, "We really want those people who have emerging conditions or potentially emerging conditions to come in. If you don’t know, come in. You’re safe from COVID here."

Steinbruner adds, "When we asked people to stay at home if they have mild symptoms, people took that in earnest and took that a little bit overboard even when they had chest pain or abdominal pain."

Steinbruner, who is also an emergency medicine physician, recommends that people come into the emergency departments if they're experiencing a life-threatening emergency or chronic illness. He noted that they've seen people who have even had strokes who stayed away.

Watch the full story tonight on KRDO NewsChannel 13.

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Kerjan Donovan

Kerjan is the weekend morning anchor and reporter for KRDO. Learn more about Kerjan here



  1. “COVID-19 outbreak drives hospital emergency department numbers to record lows”
    There have always been a large number of patients coming to emergency departments who don’t need to be there because they don’t have true emergencies. Medicaid, for example, makes it easier for patients to be seen in an ED rather than trying to make an appointment with a family doctor. So those people who should never have been there in the first place have been scared away, keeping the numbers to what they always should have been.

    1. OR…we live in a dry climate with colder than 50 degree weather… other words the virus doesn’t spread as easily….so we don’t have as many cases as one might expect.

      1. The climate doesn’t seem to have much of an effect on the coronavirus, given the number of drier and colder (and warmer) places where it’s been spreading across the earth. Although it appears to be spreading slower in some drier places, like Australia, that may be due more to the lower population density.

    1. Some hospitals in Texas did away with ERs. They can’t refuse treatment to anyone.

    2. Not the case for Medicaid recipients. They typically pay a whopping $8 for an ER visit, vs. only $3 for a doctor’s office visit.

  2. So the Pandemic is not overwhelming the hospitals and emergency rooms as they all reported. Many news organizations ran articles about how local hospitals were so overwhelmed and nurses working double shifts and so on and it was never so here.
    Now here we have the truth. less people in the hospital, less people in the emergency room, nurses hours being cut back and some staff laid off. Only 3 hospitals of 100 in the state said they needed additional staff. Yet we shut down 85% of the economy and people are going broke and suicide and domestic violence is way up.

    1. That’s because we’re willing to cut of our arm for a broken finger. If it saves 1 life it’s worth it! Sure we may kill ten in the process but gosh darn it, it makes me feel good, and I’m all about feeling good. Stay safe my friend, and remember, only you can save a life by giving up yours.

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