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Hospital Admissions Not Related to COVID-19 Fell in Early 2020

From February to April 2020, drop >20 percent observed for all primary admission diagnoses

WEDNESDAY, Sept. 30, 2020 (HealthDay News) — Non-COVID-19 hospital admissions decreased considerably with the onset of COVID-19, with declines generally similar across patient demographic subgroups from February to April 2020, according to a report published online Sept. 24 in Health Affairs.

John D. Birkmeyer, M.D., from Sound Physicians in Tacoma, Washington, and colleagues conducted a study of approximately 1 million medical admissions from a large nationally representative hospitalist group to examine differences in admissions patterns with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic among patient groups.

The researchers found that from February to April 2020, declines in non-COVID-19 admissions were generally similar across patient demographic subgroups and exceeded 20 percent for all primary admission diagnoses. Overall, non-COVID-19 admission had rebounded to 16 percent below prepandemic volume by late June/early July 2020 (8 percent including COVID-19 admissions). For patients residing in majority-Hispanic neighborhoods, non-COVID-19 admissions were substantially lower (32 percent below baseline); admissions remained below baseline for patients with pneumonia, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease/asthma, sepsis, urinary tract infection, and acute ST-elevation myocardial infarction (−44, −40, −25, −24, −22 percent, respectively).

“Our results provide empirical support for concerns about the broad public health impact of the pandemic on non-COVID-19 populations,” the authors write.

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