ROCHESTER, Minn. – Emergency room visits are down between 42 to 64 percent due to the pandemic, new research shows.
Mayo Clinic said Monday it was important to study how much ER visits have declined as it impacts decision making.
"We knew there were major changes in ED (emergency department) visit volume, but we didn't know how different communities were affected. It was especially important to know how much ED visits declined in areas that had a lot of COVID-19 cases, compared to those with fewer cases. Health care providers and our communities need real evidence for decision-making," says Molly Jeffery, Ph.D., scientific director of Emergency Medicine Research at Mayo Clinic. Dr. Jeffery is the study's lead author.
The study included collecting data on ER visits and subsequent hospital admission from Jan. 1 to April 30.
“These emergency departments spanned rural, urban and suburban settings, and included regions with a high COVID-19 caseload and regions with lower case counts. Annual baseline volume across these emergency departments ranged from 12,500 to 115,000 visits,” the study said.
"We found a substantial decline in emergency department visits — between 42% and 64% — during the four-month period of our study, but most of that decline happened over just a few weeks in March," says Dr. Jeffery. "The largest declines were seen in the areas that had a lot of COVID-19 cases. If you think about that, it means that even more people with problems other than COVID-19 must have avoided the ED during this period."