ED visits for life-threatening health conditions drop during COVID-19
ED visits for heart attacks, strokes and hyperglycemic crises all dropped in the 10 weeks after the COVID-19 pandemic was declared a national emergency in the United States, CDC data show.
Samantha Lange, MPH, of the CDC’s Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity and Obesity, and colleagues said the findings “are consistent with, but smaller in relative magnitude” than the 42% overall decline in ED visits reported early in the pandemic.
Both analyses used data from the CDC’s National Syndromic Surveillance Program, which includes ED visits from a portion of hospitals in the U.S. except for Hawaii, South Dakota and Wyoming and the District of Columbia. The program provides data on approximately three-quarters of nationwide ED visits, according to the researchers.
In the new analysis, Lange and colleagues looked at trends in ED visits for “three acute, life-threatening health conditions” from March 15 to May 23. Researchers reported that among females and males of all age groups, myocardial infarction ED visits decreased 23%, stroke ED visits decreased 20% and hyperglycemic crisis ED visits decreased 10%.
“Clear communication from public health and health care professionals is needed to reinforce the importance of timely emergency care for acute health conditions and to assure the public that EDs are implementing infection prevention and control guidelines to ensure the safety of their patients and health care personnel,” Lange and colleagues concluded.