St. David’s Healthcare sees decrease in ER visits, urges heart attack, stroke patients to seek medical care

Before the U.S. was hit with a surge of COVID-19 cases, health professionals watched and took note of how other countries battled with the life-threatening illness. By the height of the pandemic, Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Andrew Moore said St. David’s Health Care prepared for the worse. 

“There was a demand above and beyond what facilities can provide so we went to work immediately to develop contingency plans for a surge of patients,” said Dr. Moore. “It was a Herculean effort, it took a lot of time, every day. Everything from preparing critical care teams to getting high end personal protective equipment.”


Get breaking news alerts in the FOX 7 Austin News app. It is FREE!

Download for iOS or Android


By the height of the pandemic in the U.S., St. David’s Medical Center implemented health and safety protocols. The healthcare system began checking people’s temperatures before they stepped foot in an ER. Hospitals instituted a “no visitor'' policy and moved COVID-19 patients to facilities without high-risk patients.

Dr. Moore said St. David’s continues to have a sufficient amount of PPE for staff and to this day contingency plans remain in place.

RELATED: Construction sites in Travis County become hot spots for COVID-19 cases

“We do not know if we are going to have a second wave or not,” said Dr. Moore. “Based on examples from across the world, yes. We are seeing second waves in South Korea, China, Europe and even New York, we are still prepared.”

Excluding staff, St. David's emergency rooms appear empty. The hospitals are still seeing patients but not as many. Over the past two months, Dr. Moore said they’ve seen a 50-percent decrease in patients. There is a concern heart attack and stroke patients are delaying care for fear they may contract the deadly virus at the hospital.


“Our emergency departments are fully prepared to care for both COVID positive and COVID negative patients,” said Dr, Moore. “I would strongly encourage folks if they have any serious or emergency medical condition that they still go to an emergency medical department for care.”


FOX 7 Austin is working to keep you up to date with coronavirus, with both local and national developments. Every weekday we're live at 12 p.m. with a special show reporting the latest news, prevention tips and treatment information.

You can watch live in your FOX 7 Austin app or on the FOX 7 Austin Facebook page.

You can also get the latest COVID-19 news from around the country at