Social distancing due to the COVID-19 pandemic: Effects of non-urgent emergency department visits

Mor Saban*, Tal Shachar

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

Abstract

Introduction: An outbreak of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) that started in Wuhan, China, has spread quickly, with cases confirmed in 163 countries with broad impact on all health care systems. The previous 1918-19 H1N1 influenza pandemic was the last global emerging infectious disease at such scale to compare with no access to vaccines. In that pandemic as in the current, some communities responded with a variety of non-pharmaceutical interventions, especially social distancing. These types of intervention have a comprehensive effect on health care service consumption. Methodology: This study describes and proposes possible explanations for the effects of non-pharmaceutical interventions on Emergency Department (ED) non-urgent visits. Results: Indirectly, the COVID-19 pandemic has led to a more informed emergency service use that allows ED's to fulfil their defined role, providing urgent service. Currently, this is of utmost importance given the rate of the virus spreading, and rise in the proportion of patients requiring intensive care in the ED. This is undoubtedly a by-product of an international disaster. Conclusion: At the end of the pandemic, similar elements may be implemented to reduce unnecessary ED inquiries.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)124-126
Number of pages3
JournalDisaster and Emergency Medicine Journal
Volume5
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - 2 Oct 2020
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • COVID-19
  • Emergency department
  • Non-urgent visit
  • Pandemic

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