By Mike Kruzman /

Livingston County Emergency Management and local hospital officials are both stressing the importance of seeking medical care when needed during the outbreak.

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, hospitals across the country are seeing a decline in visits for non-coronavirus issues, and Livingston County is no different. The local Emergency Management Department reports that data from Livingston County EMS shows a 19% decline in run volume from March, and a 38% decline during April, compared to last year. But while the call volume has decreased, EMS is also reporting a 238% increase of calls from residents who are found dead on arrival.

The Emergency Management department wants people to know that the fear of COVID-19 should not keep individuals from seeking care or going to the hospital. If an individual believes they are suffering from a medical emergency like a heart attack, stroke, or seizure, they should immediately call 911 and accept help.

John O’Malley, President of St. Joseph Mercy Livingston and the Brighton Health Center agrees, and wants residents to know that they have adopted additional safety measures to protect patients and staff. The hospitals have separated sections for COVID-19 patients and non-COVID-19 patients, enhanced screening procedures, and are following guidelines from the state and Centers for Disease Control for even greater patient-safety.

St. Joe’s, this past week, has also begun again performing surgeries that might not be imminently life-threatening, but will result in the overall worsening of a patient’s health or well-being if not treated. O’Malley reinforced the importance of seeking care, saying that they are “well-equipped and capable of handling all time-sensitive and emergency care for our community, and have measures in place to ensure the safety of all patients and staff.”