Essentia Health President: “Routine Care Essential, Safe Amid COVID-19 Pandemic”

Dr. Jon Pryor, President of Essentia Health in Duluth, Says Routine Care Appointments Shouldn't Be Put on the Back Burner

DULUTH, Minn. – Many Northlanders are left wondering what comes next in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.

As concerns remain high, local hospital officials want to remind residents it’s safe, and important to continue scheduling routine medical exams and screening procedures.

Dr. Jon Pryor, President of Essenita Health in Duluth, says his facility is seeing a 33 percent decrease in the number of people coming in for colonoscopies.

“People are still afraid to come in even though it’s very safe. We are taking all of the preventative measures, many of our staff members have been vaccinated and continue to wear masks,” said Pryor.

Dr. Pryor says one estimate shows there could be 10,000 deaths over the next ten years just from colon and breast cancer alone due to the lack of preventative care amid the pandemic. 

Appointments for blood pressure checks, blood sugar checks, immunizations, and diabetes are also on the decline.

“Our hospitalists have noticed that people are coming in much sicker than normal. We’re seeing more strokes and heart attacks since the pandemic began,” said Pryor.

When it comes to vaccination efforts in the Northland, Dr. Pryor believes residents are doing well when it comes to receiving the shot.

“The demand is greater than the supply, but production is expected to ramp up in the coming weeks,” said Pryor.

Pryor understands some people won’t receive the COVID-19 vaccination.

“I understand there are people who are against vaccines for religious reasons, but I would encourage everyone to get it. These are safe vaccines,” said Pryor. “I can tell you from the physicians in the hospital, it’s been devastating to see the number of people who have died, and how they suffer when they die from this virus.”

Pryor says it’s important for residents who have received their COVID-19 vaccinations to continue wearing a mask, social distancing, and practicing safety protocols.

Click here for more information on COVID-19 vaccinations from Essentia Health.

Tune in to FOX 21 Local News at 5:30 and 9 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 24 for special continuing coverage of COVID Vaccine: Finding Answers.

 

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