MANATEE - More and more people are scared to get treatment for medical emergencies, like stroke, because they're afraid they'll get the coronavirus.  

Dr. Scott Selph is the medical director of Blake Medical Center’s Emergency Department. He says their arms are wide open.

“We certainly want anyone to come, if they’re concerned, for stroke,” Selph said, and quickly, as time is brain. Selph says instead of going to the E.R. during a medical emergency, lately, patients have been hesitant.

“We have had some calls and it is concerning because we’ve seen a decrease in volume," he said. "Specifically in the Northeast we've seen a decrease in chest pain complaints, and we know heart attacks and strokes are still occurring.”

This COVID-19 fear seems to be a nationwide trend.

A recent survey found 29% of American adults say they’ve delayed or avoided medical care due to concerns of getting COVID-19.

“We’ve put a lot of things in place to protect patients, like universal masking," Selph said. 

He says they’re also separating any patients who have coronavirus symptoms from those who don’t, like in the case of a stroke.

“We’re doing everything we can to keep our patients safe,” Selph said.

So if you think you’re having a stroke or other medical emergency, call an ambulance, and don’t let your fear cost you your life.

“It’s a safe place to be, you’re definitely better served coming to the emergency department and not ignoring your symptoms," Selph said.

Bottom line, Dr. Selph says if you are ever having potentially life-threatening symptoms, call 9-1-1.