LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — Doctors say it appears fewer people are seeking the urgent care they need due to a fear of getting coronavirus.

“They’re petrified of coming into the emergency room,” said Jason Fisher, a physician at Providence Holy Cross Medical Center.

Visits at Providence Holy Cross, which is typically a busy ER in the San Fernando Valley, has slowed down drastically and the people who do come in have been delaying treatment.

“We had eight people die in our ER over a five-day span, which I’ve been there for 15 years and I haven’t seen that high frequency of mortality since I’ve been there,” Fisher said. “We’re seeing people come in in the late stages of diabetic ketoacidosis, of heart attacks that happened days ago and strokes.”

The same was true in other hospitals across the region, prompting local officials to educate patients about the importance of seeking care when they need it.

“Please know that our hospitals and our clinics and our healthcare facilities remain safe places for you to seek medical attention,” said L.A. County Supervisor Hilda Solis. “We do not want anyone to delay medical care.”

Hospitals have been taking preventative measures during this pandemic by separating patients who have tested positive from others along with requiring frequent handwashing to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

“I would be more comfortable going to a hospital than to a grocery store or some other place where we might be seen,” Fisher said.

Time is of the essence in an emergency.

Doctors and other medical experts are pleading that if you are having a medical emergency to please call 911 immediately or go to your local emergency room without delay.

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