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Impact of the COVID-19 Outbreak on Trends in Emergency Department Utilization in Children: a Multicenter Retrospective Observational Study in Seoul Metropolitan Area, Korea

Choi, DH | Jung, JY | Suh, D | Choi, JY | Lee, SU | Choi, YJ  | Kwak, YH | Kim, DK
Journal of Korean medical science, 36(5). : e44-e44, 2021
Journal Title
Journal of Korean medical science
Background: Understanding the changes in emergency department (ED) visit patterns during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) outbreak is important for effectively operating EDs during the pandemic. We aimed to analyze the changes in pediatric ED visits during the COVID-19 pandemic and examine the relationship between the number of ED visits and the stringency of government social distancing measures. Methods: This multicenter retrospective study used data of pediatric (age < 18 years) ED visits in Seoul metropolitan area from June 1, 2018, to May 31, 2020. Patient demographics, ED results, and diagnoses were compared during the COVID-19 period and the previous year. To evaluate the effect of the stringency of social distancing measures on the number of ED visits, a Poisson regression model was developed with month, year, and the average monthly Government Response Stringency Index (GRSI) as fixed effects. Results: In total, 190,732 patients were included. The number of pediatric ED visits during the COVID-19 period was 58.1% lower than in the previous year. There were disproportionate decreases in the numbers of ED visits for children in early childhood (66.5%), low-acuity children (55.2–63.8%), those who did not use an ambulance (59.0%), and those visiting the ED for noninjury complaints (64.9%). The proportion of admissions increased from 11.9% to 16.6%. For every 10-point increase in the GRSI, there was a 15.1% decrease in monthly ED visits. Conclusion: A striking decrease in pediatric ED visits was observed during the COVID-19 outbreak, the scale which was associated with the stringency of government policies. Changes in the number and characteristics of children visiting the ED should be considered to facilitate the effective operation of EDs during the pandemic.


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Journal Papers > School of Medicine / Graduate School of Medicine > Emergency Medicine
Ajou Authors
최, 유진
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