July 8, 2020 — As COVID-19 cases continue to increase and strain emergency departments nationwide, a recent Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) suggests ER visits in April were down 42 percent compared to the same period last year.1 Yet, heart attacks and strokes haven’t stopped for COVID-19. To combat this alarming trend, the American Heart Association, the world’s leading nonprofit organization focused on heart and brain health for all, and B&I Contractors here in southwest Florida took action that urges people to call 9-1-1 and seek emergency medical care at the hospital if experiencing symptoms of a heart attack or a stroke. The educational message simply for people to get help immediately and “Don’t Die of Doubt.

The campaign emphasizes that the best chance to survive an acute event, like a heart attack or stroke, is to call 9-1-1 and get an ambulance to the hospital where they’re fully prepared to treat you safely. Hospitals are still the safest place to be during a medical emergency and routine health check-ups remain a vital piece of your health regiment.

With coronavirus cases still fueling fear of using medical services, there is a critical need to reach everyone across the country with reassurance. People can receive safe care for heart attack or stroke symptoms, and other urgent medical needs, in hospitals. Maintaining regular check-ups and managing known conditions are also important to staying healthy during this time.
When it comes to surviving a heart attack or a stroke, seconds count, and so doubting symptoms, and thereby delaying care, may prove deadly.

“Heart attack and stroke symptoms are always urgent. We want to minimize any hesitation to call 9-1-1 in an emergency,“ Southwest Florida’s American Heart Association Executive Director Kelly Glewa said . “Emergency responders, as well as doctors and nurses at the hospital, know what to do when emergencies happen and emergency departments have made plans behind the scenes including screening for COVID-19 symptoms, treating coronavirus patients in separate areas and increased cleaning protocols to keep patients and workers safe.”

“As we reopen our state and community, we’re grateful the American Heart Association is taking steps to educate our community. We are also happy to provide support and help spread the word,” said Gary Griffin, President of B&I Contractors. “We encourage everyone facing a medical emergency to seek help quickly at an emergency room or Urgent Care facility. Healthcare providers have taken measures to provide care in a safe way, so we urge those who have cancelled routine appointments and procedures to schedule the treatments and procedures they need to
stay healthy. If you are experiencing any symptoms of a heart attack or stroke you should not be afraid to go to the ER or visit your doctor due to the pandemic. Don’t die of doubt! ”

For more about this campaign and community resources, visit www.heart.org/dontdieofdoubt.

Additional Resources:
• Don’t Die of Doubt website
• American Heart Association COVID-19 resources
• Heart attack symptoms
• Stroke symptoms
• Visit the Support Network for peer to peer support for patients
• Follow American Heart Association/American Stroke Association news on Twitter @HeartNews

The Association receives funding primarily from individuals. Foundations and corporations (including pharmaceutical, device manufacturers and other companies) also make donations and fund specific association programs and events. The Association has strict policies to prevent these relationships from influencing the science content. Revenues from pharmaceutical and device corporations and health insurance providers are available at https://www.heart.org/en/about-us/aha-financial-information.

About the American Heart Association
The American Heart Association is a relentless force for a world of longer, healthier lives. We are dedicated to ensuring equitable health in all communities. Through collaboration with numerous organizations, and powered by millions of volunteers, we fund innovative research, advocate for the public’s health and share lifesaving resources. The Dallas-based organization has been a leading source of health information for nearly a century. Connect with us on heart.org, Facebook, Twitter or by calling 1-800-AHA-USA1.

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