ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Local doctors are urging patients not to neglect medical treatment in light of the pandemic.

Daily case numbers are no longer rising, but the most crucial numbers are still seeing a slight increase – hospital numbers are ticking slightly upward, with over 700 people still COVID-positive in the Finger Lakes region as of a Tuesday Monroe County update.

As some elect not to be treated due to the state of COVID, doctors warn not to put treatment on the backburner.

“Honestly, during the first wave of COVID, thank God I had no patients die of COVID, but I am convinced that I had patients die because they neglected care of other illness,” said Dr. Wallace Johnson with the University of Rochester Medical Center. “Not neglected in a pejorative sense, they felt it was right to stay home, to stay a little bit underground, to stay out of contact with the medical profession. But I think that hurt a number of patients, and I think worldwide we’ve seen that happening.”

There may be days, Dr. Johnson adds, when patients who are scheduled for relatively routine services would be postponed or moved to a zoom visit.

“We don’t want people on their own to say, ‘I don’t think I should go to the doctor this year,'” Dr. Johnson said.

Dr. Bob Cole is a family practitioner, and Chief Medical Officer for Rochester Regional Health’s eastern hospitals, based in the Macedon area. Dr. Cole tells News 8

“Sadly, I think many providers can quote examples over the past 2 years of individuals delaying screening services, and then receiving really challenging, very sad diagnoses as a result,” said Dr. Cole.

“We’ve seen a general reduction in numbers of patients entering emergency departments for non-COVID-related concerns,” Dr. Cole continued, “and it makes me worried that people may in fact be experiencing their heart attacks at home, their strokes at home, and not receiving the care they deserve and need.”