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TUESDAY, Oct. 27, 2020 (HealthDay News) — There was a decrease in the frequency of hospitalizations for non-COVID-19-related conditions during the COVID-19 pandemic and in the caseloads of common medical emergencies, according to two research letters published online Oct. 26 in JAMA Internal Medicine.

Saul Blecker, M.D., from the NYU Grossman School of Medicine in New York City, and colleagues examined the frequency of hospitalization for all non-COVID-19-related conditions in the NYU Langone Health system between March 1 and May 9 in 2018, 2019, and 2020. The researchers identified 3,657 non-COVID-19 hospitalizations in 2020 compared with 5,368 and 6,411 hospitalizations during the same period in 2018 and 2019, respectively. In the early COVID-19 period, hospitalization rates were similar to baseline and then decreased during the peak COVID-19 period and increased slightly in the late COVID-19 period. During the peak COVID-19 period, there was also a significant decline in hospitalizations for many common diagnoses.

Hriday P. Bhambhvani, from the Stanford University Medical Center in California, and colleagues used data from Stanford University Medical Center and New York Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center (NYP) to examine the association of COVID-19 with the incidence of five medical emergencies. The researchers found that after accounting for underlying trends, there were reductions in the daily volume of acute myocardial infarction cases at NYP and Stanford (relative risks [RRs], 0.61 and 0.74, respectively); ischemic stroke cases at both (RRs, 0.51 and 0.84, respectively); nontraumatic subarachnoid hemorrhage at both centers (RRs, 0.67 and 0.79, respectively); and appendicitis cases at NYP but not Stanford (RR, 0.58).

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“The pandemic can provide an opportunity for us to teach patients which parts of medical care are of highest value and encourage them to seek that care, as we simultaneously maximize our use of non-hospital-based options for health care delivery,” write the authors of an accompanying editorial.

Abstract/Full Text – Blecker

Abstract/Full Text – Bhambhvani

Editor’s Note