Impact of COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown on emergency room access in Northern and Central Italy

  • Fabrizio Giostra Emergency Room and Emergency Medicine, Ospedale Sant’Orsola, Bologna, Italy.
  • Maria Grazia Mirarchi Emergency Room and Emergency Medicine, Ospedale Sant’Orsola, Bologna, Italy.
  • Gabriele Farina Emergency Room and Emergency Medicine, Ospedale Sant’Orsola, Bologna, Italy.
  • Ciro Paolillo Emergency Room and Emergency Medicine, Ospedali Civili, Brescia, Italy.
  • Catello Sepe Emergency Room and Emergency Medicine, Ospedali Civili, Brescia, Italy.
  • Francesca Benedusi Emergency Room and Emergency Medicine, Ospedali Civili, Brescia, Italy.
  • Andrea Bellone Emergency Room and Emergency Medicine, Ospedale Niguarda, Milan, Italy.
  • Lorenzo Ghiadoni Emergency Room and Emergency Medicine, Azienda Ospedaliera Universitaria di Pisa, Italy.
  • Greta Barbieri Emergency Room and Emergency Medicine, Azienda Ospedaliera Universitaria di Pisa, Italy.
  • Massimo Santini Emergency Room and Emergency Medicine, Azienda Ospedaliera Universitaria di Pisa, Italy.
  • Grazia Guiddo Emergency Room and Emergency Medicine, Ospedale San Paolo, Savona, Italy.
  • Alessandro Riccardi | dottriccardi@gmail.com Emergency Room and Emergency Medicine, Ospedale San Paolo, Savona, Italy.
  • Roberto Lerza Emergency Room and Emergency Medicine, Ospedale San Paolo, Savona, Italy.
  • Daniele Coen Academy of Emergency Medicine and Care (AcEMC), Milano, Italy.

Abstract

In Northern Italy the coronavirus infection has spread since February 2020: the increase in admissions of COVID-19 patients corresponded to a drastic decrease in admissions of regular patients to the Emergency Room (ER). This retrospective study was conducted by Academy of Emergency Medicine and Care (AcEMC). During the lockdown period the accesses were reduced by more than 50%, and in the following months of May and June 2020, there was a recovery clearly below (70%) previous year’s numbers. We have observed a drastic reduction in white and green codes, a fair reduction in yellow codes, while red codes remained stable. The decrease in access to the ER mainly concerned patients with low priority color codes, but also the reduction in the number of accesses of yellow and red codes, insignificant at a superficial glance, is notable. If we consider that yellow and red codes during the months of the lockdown included many patients with COVIDrelated respiratory insufficiency, it is evident that there was a clear reduction in the number of serious illnesses not COVID-related. This is certainly another serious consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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References

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Published
2021-06-28
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Issue
Section
Original Articles
Keywords:
Overcrowding, COVID-19, triage, emergency room, Italian epidemic
Statistics
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How to Cite
Giostra, F., Mirarchi, M. G., Farina, G., Paolillo, C., Sepe, C., Benedusi, F., Bellone, A., Ghiadoni, L., Barbieri, G., Santini, M., Guiddo, G., Riccardi, A., Lerza, R., & Coen, D. (2021). Impact of COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown on emergency room access in Northern and Central Italy. Emergency Care Journal, 17(2). https://doi.org/10.4081/ecj.2021.9705

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