PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Besides the local stores and businesses reopening under the “yellow” phase, there’s someone else who is eager to see you again — your doctor.

Medical professionals have noted a coronavirus-era phenomenon that’s become known as “medical distancing,” which is people who need medical attention avoiding the doctor’s office over fears of being infected with the virus.

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“We’ve had a huge decrease in the number of patients coming into the office,” says Allegheny Health Network internist Brian Lamb.

He says, at first, that was a good plan to keep the coronavirus from spreading. But as the weeks have gone on, it’s become a serious danger, especially for those going without care for chronic conditions like heart disease, diabetes and hypertension.

“There are groups of people who aren’t getting the care they need, and it’s actually having very dire consequences on their health,” Lamb said.

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In many cases, Dr. Lamb says it’s fair to assume that coronavirus fear has been fatal.

Now that Allegheny County and most of western Pennsylvania have moved into the state’s more relaxed “yellow” phase, Dr. Lamb says he’s hopeful patients will begin returning.

“Life is going to go on,” he says. “You have to continue to take care of yourself so you can be part of that, as we go into the yellow phase. And hopefully, at some point, the green phase.”

Dr. Lamb says you should wear a mask to your appointment and expect that everyone on staff is masked, as well as any other patients.

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He says if they’re not, he wouldn’t go in.