Local health care providers urge people to not skip routine appointments

Published: May. 29, 2020 at 4:14 PM CDT
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Area health systems are sharing the message: do not ignore health issues amid the pandemic and keep routine appointments.

During the COVID-19 health crisis, health care providers say they are seeing a lower number of people seeking are, which could lead to a bigger emergency.

“At these times we encourage people to continue doing that because we don’t want to overlook things that could become a problem later,” Joana Huibregtse, a family nurse practitioner at UnityPoint Health – Meriter, said.

Huibregtse said, whether it is getting a physical or keeping up on vaccinations, people should not skip out.

“Definitely start scheduling your children to come in for their vaccination. We have seen across the United States that vaccination rates have gone dramatically down during this pandemic,” she said.

Dr. Dave Ottenbaker, the SSM Health regional vice president of primary care services, echoed the same sentiments.

“We don’t want people to delay diagnoses or not get their mammograms or colonoscopy, because there is a reason for doing those, it’s to pick up early disease detection,” Ottenbaker said.

Clinics have health care precautions in place, such as Plexiglas at check-in, limited amounts of people in the waiting room and continuing COVID-19 screenings.

“I semi-joke that it’s much safer at the clinic than at the grocery store. You are in a controlled environment that everyone is on board with the health measures and wearing masks,” Huibregtse said.

UW Health representatives also sent a statement to NBC15:

“People should not neglect their health needs during COVID-19, and they can get their care safely at UW Health’s hospitals and clinics. That includes not just surgeries and major procedures, but regular vaccinations and evaluations. Please consult with your doctor to determine your healthcare needs and continue practicing physical distancing, using proper hand hygiene and wearing a face covering in appropriate settings.”

Both in-person and

are available. Health care professionals recommend patients call and ask what the best option is when making an appointment.