J Med Assoc Thai 2021; 104 (2):1-4

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Visits to the Emergency Department during the 2020 COVID-19 Outbreak in Thailand
Apiratwarakul K , Kongudom N Mail, Kotruchin P , Phungoen P , Larthum K

Background: The emergency department (ED) can be thought of as the “front door” to the 2019 coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. However, there have yet been no studies conducted examining ED patients in this situation.
Objective: To determine the numbers of ED visits by level urgency during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Materials and Methods: This was a cross-sectional study. The sample consisted of patients who presented at the Srinagarind Hospital ED from January 13 to April 21, 2020 (the date of the first confirmed case of COVID-19 in Thailand according to the Ministry of Public Health and day 100). We compared these data with those from the same period over the past three years.
Results: In 2020, the total number of ED visits was 13,263, with a mean patient age of 50.14+6.40 years. Over half of these patients (56.2%; n = 7,467) were female. Most visits (50.6%) occurred between 4.00 PM to 0.00 AM (afternoon shift). The majority of were walk-ins (84.2%) and ESI 3 (non-urgent; 79.9%). The average numbers of ESI 3 patients who visited the ED over the same period in 2017 to 2020 were 152.3, 171.5, 153.0 and 105.9 per day, respectively (p<0.001).
Conclusion: During the COVID-19 pandemic, the number of ED visits, specifically those of ESI 3 patients, was significantly lower than during the same period in previous years.

Keywords: COVID-19, Emergency departments, Pandemics, Triage


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