A new UBC study published in the Emergency Medicine Journal on Oct. 29, 2020 found fewer children are visiting ER departments at B.C. hospitals. (Children’s Hospital/Facebook)

A new UBC study published in the Emergency Medicine Journal on Oct. 29, 2020 found fewer children are visiting ER departments at B.C. hospitals. (Children’s Hospital/Facebook)

Fewer children visiting emergency rooms in B.C. during pandemic: UBC study

The research is published in the Emergency Medicine Journal

The number of families with children who accessed emergency departments across British Columbia during the “peak” of the pandemic declined from the same period last year, according to a recent University of British Columbia study.

The findings published in the Emergency Medicine Journal suggest that many families may have avoided visiting emergency departments for “minor illnesses during the peak of the pandemic from March 17 to April 30.”

READ MORE: Flu shot demand up and getting more supply won’t be easy, feds say

Looking at 18 emergency departments in Metro Vancouver, the research found a 70 per cent decline in visits to B.C. emergency departments at general hospitals, and a 57 per cent decline in visits to the emergency department at BC Children’s Hospital from March 17 to April 20, compared to the same time period last year.

“There are many reasons why families may have avoided visiting emergency departments, ranging from concerns over contracting the virus while in hospital to a desire to avoid overburdening the healthcare system,” said the study’s lead author Dr. Ran Goldman, professor in the UBC faculty of medicine’s department of pediatrics.

Overall, the study found the number of children arriving to emergency departments declined by nearly 67 per cent compared to the previous year.

However, while the overall number of admissions were less than the previous year, the research indicates the admission rate actually increased from four to seven per cent.

“This suggests that, among children who presented to the emergency department, the proportion of serious illness was higher and minor illness lower, compared with the previous year,” according to the study.

The study found the largest decline (more than 70 per cent) was seen in visits with symptoms related to fever and gastrointestinal issues among children, followed by orthopaedic concerns (a 69 per cent decline) and respiratory symptoms (a 56 per cent decline).

READ MORE: Canada updates COVID-19 guidelines to include airborne transmission, following U.S., WHO

Although the study focuses on emergency departments in the province, researchers found similar trends reported in Italy, England and Spain.

“It is possible that physical distancing and the closure of schools reduced the spread of other viral illnesses, resulting in the decrease in emergency department visits,” Goldman said.

The lead author says the study highlights “the importance of ensuring the community is aware that hospitals are safe to visit in an emergency situation during the pandemic.”


@JotiGrewal_
joti.grewal@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

CoronavirusHospitalsresearchUBC

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The District of Stewart has adopted a strategic plan for 2020/21 with six focus areas. (District of Stewart/Facebook)
Stewart adopts 2020 strategic plan

Economy, community areas of focus

Kendra Willems, seen here Nov. 5, created a Facebook page to help facilitate social supports such as clothing donations in an informal manner that supplements existing supports and charities. (Jake Wray/Terrace Standard)
Skeena Voices | ‘We could all use that kind of goodness’

Kendra Willems, new to Terrace, founds charitable Facebook page

Firefighters work to cool a semi truck engine that caught fire at the corner of Eby St. and Hwy 16 around 12:30 p.m. on Nov. 26
Semi truck engine catches fire in Terrace

Hwy 16 briefly closed between Sande Overpass and Eby St.

Skeena MLA Ellis Ross at his swearing in on Thursday (Nov. 26), with his wife, Tracey, left, mother, Frieda, and grandson, Parker. (Ellis Ross photo)
Ellis Ross sworn in as Skeena MLA

Ceremonies happening virtually rather than all in-person in Victoria

(Dave Landine/Facebook)
VIDEO: Dashcam captures head-on crash between snowplow and truck on northern B.C. highway

Driver posted to social media that he walked away largely unscathed

Black Press Media and BraveFace have come together to support children facing life-threatening conditions. Net proceeds from these washable, reusable, three-layer masks go to Make-A-Wish Foundation BC & Yukon.
Put on a BraveFace: Help make children’s wishes come true

Black Press Media, BraveFace host mask fundraiser for Make-A-Wish Foundation

A B.C. Ambulance Service paramedic wearing a face mask to curb the spread of COVID-19 moves a stretcher outside an ambulance at Royal Columbia Hospital, in New Westminster, B.C., on Sunday, November 29, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Top doctor urges Canadians to limit gatherings as ‘deeply concerning’ outbreaks continue

Canada’s active cases currently stand at 63,835, compared to 53,907 a week prior

A Canadian Pacific freight train travels around Morant’s Curve near Lake Louise, Alta., on Monday, Dec. 1, 2014. A study looking at 646 wildlife deaths along the railway tracks in Banff and Yoho national parks in Alberta and British Columbia has found that train speed is one of the biggest factors. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
Study finds train speed a top factor in wildlife deaths in Banff, Yoho national parks

Research concludes effective mitigation could address train speed and ability of wildlife to see trains

A airport worker is pictured at Vancouver International Airport in Richmond, B.C. Wednesday, March 18, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Canada extends COVID restrictions for non-U.S. travellers until Jan. 21 amid second wave

This ban is separate from the one restricting non-essential U.S. travel

Menno Place. (Google Street View image.)
B.C. care home looks to hire residents’ family members amid COVID-19-related staff shortage

Family would get paid as temporary workers, while having chance to see loved ones while wearing PPE

A man walks by a COVID-19 test pod at the Vancouver airport in this undated handout photo. A study has launched to investigate the safest and most efficient way to rapidly test for COVID-19 in people taking off from the Vancouver airport. The airport authority says the study that got underway Friday at WestJet’s domestic check-in area is the first of its kind in Canada. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, Vancouver Airport Authority *MANDATORY CREDIT*
COVID-19 rapid test study launches at Vancouver airport for departing passengers

Airport authority says that a positive rapid test result does not constitute a medical diagnosis for COVID-19

114 Canadians were appointed Nov. 27 to the Order of Canada. (Governor General of Canada photo)
Indigenous actor, author, elder, leaders appointed to Order of Canada

Outstanding achievement, community dedication and service recognized

More than 60 cm of snow has fallen at Ulkatcho First Nation near Anahim Lake in the Chilcotin since a snowfall warning went into effect Thursday, Nov. 26. (Graham West photo)
VIDEO: More than 60 cm of snowfall in Chilcotin since Thursday, Nov. 26

Graham West of Ulkatcho First Nation captures the scene on video

Most Read