HALEIWA, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Doctors are urging patients who have canceled regular checkups due to coronavirus concerns to reschedule their appointments.
Health officials want to make sure that people don't put themselves at risk for other illnesses by skipping visits.
Dr. Randall Suzuka, who works at The Queen's Health Care Centers in Haleiwa and Mililani, tries to reassure worried patients.
"Our drop has probably been about 20%, but some clinics have noted a 50% drop in their patients," he said.
Other doctors surveyed by the Hawaii Medical Association reported a decrease of 75% percent or more in patient care.
Suzuka wants to make sure that people stay on top of their medical care, especially if they have a chronic illness or need regular screening.
"We don't want to have a situation where more people will end up dying from cancer two or three years from now because they didn't get their colon cancer screening, their pap smears, their mammograms," he said.
The state Department of Health also emphasizes the importance of reconnecting with your doctor for routine visits.
"We could end up with people who have high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, asthma, who are not managing it under a doctor's care, and those conditions actually create greater risk for COVID-19 complications," said Lola Irvin, DOH administrator of the Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion Division.
Irvin also encourages parents to stay up to date on their child’s physical exams and immunizations for diseases such as measles and whooping cough.
“We don’t want outbreaks of preventable childhood diseases so they need to go back, get their vaccinations updated, get their childhood wellness checks done,” she said.
People who don’t have health insurance or are unable to pay for health services should call 211 for assistance, according to DOH officials.