COVID-19 lock-down significantly reduced the number of surgical presentations in an emergency department
IntroductionCoronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is an acute virus infection that was declared by the World Health Organization (WHO) as a pandemic. As a consequence, the Swiss government decreed a public lock-down to reduce and restrict further infections. The aim of this investigation was to provide the impact of the COVID-19 lock-down on the presentations of patients in an interdisciplinary emergency department (ED).Patients, Materials and MethodsA retrospective study was performed at an
... erformed at an interdisciplinary Swiss ED during the lock-down period. All patients who presented to the ED were enrolled in this investigation and compared to a control cohort during the same time period in 2019. Data regarding patient characteristics, medical specialty, time course of presentations during the observation period, and outpatient or hospital admission were analyzed.ResultsIn total, 7,072 patients were included in the final analysis. During the lock-down period, the number of ED presentations significantly decreased by 29% in comparison to the control period in the previous year (p<0.0001). The analysis of the time course revealed that in each week, the number of patients was lower, with a 13% to 43% reduction. Irrespective of the medical specialty, the number of presentations decreased during the COVID-19 situation, whereas this decrease was higher in surgical diseases (31%, p<0.0001) than in non-surgical presentations (3.6%, p=0.4).DiscussionThe socio-economic lock-down impacted the number of presentations in an ED. Mainly, surgical diseases and injuries were affected in terms of a reduction of presentations during the COVID-19 lock-down period.