Throughout the pandemic, fears about the coronavirus have driven many people to skip doctors’ appointments and avoid hospitals. Now, with the highly contagious delta variant surging across the United States, those worries may be resurfacing. But doctors say that risk can be managed with vaccinations and other safety measures, and there are potentially greater consequences to delaying medical care.

“There are individuals who, with rising rates of covid-19 infection, have been hesitant about coming to the doctor’s office, and that has allowed for missed opportunities to identify a disease early on or to achieve optimal control over chronic diseases,” said Michael Knight, a primary care physician and the associate chief quality and population health officer with the George Washington University Medical Faculty Associates.

Whether it’s time for a routine visit with your primary care physician or you have a medical emergency that needs immediate attention, here are tips for deciding when to see a doctor, where to go for treatment and how to try to stay safe.