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Staying up-to-date on routine health screenings during COVID-19

People may be afraid of going to the doctor's office during the coronavirus pandemic. However, experts said people shouldn't skip regular check-ups.

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — In Knox County, officials said there were 136 active cases of COVID-19 Wednesday. With so many active cases, many people may want to avoid visiting the doctor for routine checkups and procedures.

However, experts said missing out on doctors' appointments can be harmful. Parents who keep their children away from the doctor may accidentally stunt their child's development, and they may put their child's health at risk.

Children need to get their regular vaccinations, labwork, screenings and checkups, according to Dr. Stephanie Gorman, with Seymour Pediatrics.

"We understand that parents are scared," Dr. Gorman said. "So we at the Children's Hospital have gotten together as providers and as a team to develop protocols to keep our patients safe."

Some doctors started staggering the kinds of patients they see — healthy people in the morning and sick people in the evenings. Staff at doctors' offices are also wearing more PPE and buildings are being sanitized more, according to experts.

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Adults should also continue visiting the doctor for regular screenings and checkups, experts said. Blood pressure tests, cholesterol measurements, diabetes checks, bone density scans and even skin checks are all important parts of staying healthy.

People with heart problems should especially make sure not to skip their next doctor's appointment.

"Sometimes their blood pressure is higher," Dr. Peter Scott said, a cardiologist Blount Memorial Hospital. "Or the congestive heart failure symptoms could be worse. So we really want people who are having issues to come in when they're having these issues."

Most of all, experts said people shouldn't be afraid to call their doctor's office to ask about what they're doing to keep people safe from COVID-19. Telehealth programs have also become an option for many people.

RELATED: Knox Co. reports 734 total COVID-19 cases with 136 active cases and 593 recoveries

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