Impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on emergency department visits: experience of a Brazilian reference center

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OBJECTIVE: To analyze the impact of COVID-19 on emergency department metrics at a large tertiary reference hospital in Brazil. METHODS: A retrospective analysis of consecutive emergency department visits, from January 1, 2020, to November 21, 2020, was performed and compared to the corresponding time frame in 2018 and 2019. The volume of visits and patients' demographic and clinic characteristics were compared. All medical conditions were included, except confirmed cases of COVID-19. RESULTS: A total of 138,138 emergency department visits occurred during the study period, with a statistically significant (p<0.01) reduction by 52% compared to both 2018 and 2019. This decrease was more pronounced for pediatric visits - a drop by 71% in comparison to previous years. Regarding clinical presentation, there was a decrease of severe cases by 34.7% and 37.6%, whereas mild cases decreased by 55.2% and 56.2% when comparing 2020 to 2018 and 2019, respectively. A 30% fall in the total volume of hospital admission from emergency department patients was observed during the study period, but accompanied by a proportional increase in monthly admission rates since April 2020. CONCLUSION: The COVID-19 pandemic led to a 52% fall in attendance at our emergency department for other conditions, along with a proportional increase in hospital admission rates of COVID-19 patients. Healthcare providers should raise patient awareness not to delay seeking medical treatment of severe conditions that require care at the emergency department.




Souza, J. L. de, Teich, V. D., Dantas, A. C. B., Malheiro, D. T., Oliveira, M. A. de, Mello, E. S. de, & Cendoroglo Neto, M. (2021). Impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on emergency department visits: experience of a Brazilian reference center. Einstein (Sao Paulo, Brazil), 19, eAO6467.

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