SAN JOSE (CBS SF) – At least one Bay Area hospital prepared for a possible surge in cardiac patients as Election Day returns start flowing in Tuesday night.

Regional Medical Center of San Jose prepared for more cardiovascular patients than normal, due to the extra stressful nature of the 2020 election. Hospital spokeswoman Sarah Sherwood compared the stress to that experienced by fans during a Super Bowl or a natural disaster like an earthquake.

“We believe the election is of that magnitude,” Sherwood said.

Hospital staff have been briefed on the possibility of a patient surge, and extra preparations have been made, included making extra plasma available, making sure operating rooms are available and putting extra trauma surgeons on call.

Sherwood said the COVID-19 pandemic has already made people suffering from cardiac issues more reluctant than usual to come to the hospital because of the mistaken belief they’re more likely to be exposed to COVID-19.

She said the rate of coronavirus among health care workers is lower than that of the general population.

“It’s safe,” Sherwood said. “Come in. Do not put it off, because time matters when you have cardiac symptoms.”

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