SAN DIEGO (KGTV)-- Rady Children's Hospital is seeing a drastic drop in the number of Emergency Room visits.
Doctors are worried that parents are afraid to take their children to the hospital amid this Coronavirus pandemic.
But hospital staff say they have made several improvements, including Plexiglass windows, cordoned-off waiting areas in their ER's, to address safety concerns.
If you have not been to Rady Children's Hospital lately, you may be surprised to see a completely transformed Emergency Department.
"We've been working hard at preparations," Seema Shah, MD., Emergency Department Medical Director, said.
In the last two weeks, the pediatric hospital has seen a significant drop in the number of Emergency Room visits. Dr. Shah believes it is because parents are too afraid to go to the hospital during the national Coronavirus surge.
"We've definitely seen a decrease in that number," Dr. Shah said. "Maybe even about 50% less than what we would normally see at this time of year. "
Like many hospitals in our area, Rady has set up triage stations at the Emergency entrance. But Dr. Shah says they have taken it a step further. The reception area now has Plexiglass protected windows.
"Once families arrive, they are immediately handed a mask, and they are asked questions," Dr. Shah said. "The healthcare providers can talk to families through windows and put them in the correct waiting room."
For example, if your child has Coronavirus symptoms, they will be isolated in a Plexiglass-separated room. If they have a broken arm, they will be escorted into another section of the hospital.
If your child has respiratory symptoms, Doctors now have access to a Plexiglass box in their exam room.
"[The doctor] puts their hands in these two holes in a box, so they are able to put that airway in without the spread of secretions everywhere," Dr. Shah explained.
It is like a clear, social distancing box that allows doctors to continue to provide safe, close-up care.
"That actually could help protect the patient and help protect the healthcare workers," Dr. Shah said.
Dr. Shah says these are just a few of the adjustments they have made in their Emergency Department to ease the fear of anxious parents, contemplating if they should bring in their child. She hopes other hospitals follow suit before San Diego experiences a more significant surge.
"We can't stress enough that we still want kids to come in if there is a concern that they may be sick," Dr. Shah said. "We are more than happy to see them, and we are doing everything we can to keep them safe."