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 suspect is described as approximately 20-25 years old, between 5’3 to 5’4, with dark hair. He was wearing black Adidas pants, white shoes, and a puffy grey jacket. Photo supplied
Attempted robbery in Courtenay

Investigators from the Comox Valley RCMP Major Crime Unit are investigating

The Fifth Street Bridge requires structural improvements, new coating to repair and prevent corrosion, and deck repairs. File photo
Fifth Street Bridge repairs to proceed in Courtenay

The unofficial results are in for the Fifth Street Bridge Rehabilitation Alternative… Continue reading

Windy conditions in Nanaimo’s Lost Lake area. (News Bulletin file photo)
Wind warning issued for the east coast of Vancouver Island

Environment Canada says people ‘should be on the lookout’ for adverse weather conditions

BC Hydro will release higher volumes of water down the Puntledge River on Nov. 24-25. Black Press file photo
BC Hydro testing hydroelectric facility system along Puntledge River all week

Tests will result in high water levels, possible siren initiation

People wearing face masks to help curb the spread of COVID-19 cross a street in downtown Vancouver, on Sunday, November 22, 2020. The use of masks is mandatory in indoor public and retail spaces in the province. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. reports 17 COVID deaths, 1,933 new cases as hospitalizations surge over the weekend

There are 277 people in hospital, of whom 59 are in ICU or critical care

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Stock photo
Senior from Gibsons caught viewing child porn sentenced to 10 months

74-year-old pleaded guilty after police seized 1,500-2,500 images

BC Teachers' Federation President Teri Mooring is asking parents of school-aged children to encourage the wearing of masks when possible in schools. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito)
LETTER: Teachers union encourages culture of mask wearing in B.C. schools

BCTF President Teri Mooring asks parents to talk with children about wearing masks in school

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speak to the media about the COVID-19 virus outside Rideau Cottage in Ottawa, Friday, Nov. 20, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s inability to manufacture vaccines in-house will delay distribution: Trudeau

First doses of COVID-19 vaccine expected in first few months of 2021, prime minister says

The North Island 9-1-1 Corporation (NI911) has supported local residents for 25 years. Black Press file photo
North Island 911 looks to change how they get funding

Three options to be decided upon in early 2021

(Pixabay)
All dance studios, other indoor group fitness facilities must close amid updated COVID-19 rules

Prior announcement had said everything except spin, HIIT and hot yoga could remain open

B.C. Liberal interim leader Shirley Bond speaks to reporters from Prince George via Zoom conference, Nov. 24, 2020. MLAs are being sworn in for the legislature session this week, many of them also by video. (B.C. legislature)
B.C. Liberal leadership contest will wait for election post-mortem

Interim leader set to face NDP on payments for COVID-19

Most Read