COVID-19 keeping people from seeking care, calling 911 for heart attacks and strokes


UnityPoint Health stands ready to provide care for emergency patients

West Des Moines, Iowa (April 23, 2020) – UnityPoint Health wants to send a clear message to patients experiencing symptoms of cardiac arrest or stroke: do not hesitate to call 911 or come to the emergency department. 

UnityPoint Health Chief Medical Officer Dan Allen, MD wants to ensure the safety of our community members. “Medical professionals have sent a clear message to stay home,” said Dr. Allen. “One exception is if you think you’re having a heart attack or stroke. You need to seek care immediately.”

The following are symptoms of a heart attack or stroke:

Heart Attack 
Chest Pain
Difficulty Breathing
Discomfort in chest, arms, back, neck shoulder or jaw

Weakness, numbness or loss of movement in your face, arm, or leg, especially if its only on one side
Trouble speaking, understanding others or confusion 
Loss of balance

“In life-threatening medical emergencies like these, it’s okay to leave home,” said Dr. Allen. “Our emergency departments are designed to keep COVID-19 and non-COVID-19 patients in separate areas, and we’re fully equipped to provide care for all patients in all situations.”

For non-emergencies, UnityPoint Clinic cardiovascular clinics are offering options like Virtual Urgent Care, Virtual Scheduled Care and telephonic visits to help decrease the number of patients seen in-person in the office.