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

Brett Alexander Jones is wanted on several warrants province-wide, in connection with multiple charges. Jan. 21, 2021. Kitimat RCMP photo
Kitimat RCMP searching for man wanted on several warrants province-wide

Jones is described as a five-foot 10-inches Caucasian man, with blond hair and blue eyes.

That’s Houston physician Dr. Stefanie Steel receiving her first dose of the Pfizer vaccine Jan. 19, 2021 from RN nurse manager Cindy Cockle. (Northern Health photo)
First Houston vaccinations take place

Long term care residents, health care workers on list

Administering naloxone to a person experiencing a benzo-related overdose event won’t help. Naloxone is used to neutralize opioids. (Jenna Hauck/The Progress file photo)
Northern Health warning drug users of potential benzo contamination

The drug does not respond to naloxone, and is being included in street drugs

COVID-19 exposure reported at Houston Secondary. (Houston Today photo)
COVID-19 exposure reported at Houston Secondary School

Self-monitoring for symptoms encouraged

Businesses continue to struggle under COVID-19 restrictions as the pandemic reaches the one-year mark. (B.C. government)
Another 564 COVID-19 cases, mass vaccine plan coming Friday

15 more deaths, community cluster declared in Williams Lake

A specialized RCMP team is investigating a suspicious trailer, which might have connections to the illicit drug trade, found abandoned outside a Cache Creek motel. (Photo credit: <em>Journal</em> files)
Police probe U-Haul trailer linked to illicit drugs left outside Cache Creek motel

Hazardous materials found inside believed to be consistent with the production of illicit drugs

Premier John Horgan leaves the podium following his first press conference of the year as he comments on various questions from the media in the Press Gallery at B.C. Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Monday, January 13, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Interprovincial travel restrictions a no-go, Horgan says after reviewing legal options

The B.C. NDP government sought legal advice as concerns of travel continue

Gem Lake Top, at Big White Ski Resort, seen at Jan. 8. (Big White Ski Resort)
Big White cancels $7.3M in lift tickets, accommodations due to COVID-19 orders

Since November, the ski resort has been forced to make several changes

Darlene Curylo scratched a $3M ticket, BCLC’s largest ever scratch and win prize. (BCLC)
Kelowna woman in shock after winning BCLC’s largest-ever instant-ticket prize

Darlene Curylo couldn’t believe her eyes when she saw the amount of money she’d won from a scratch ticket

While each person has different reasons for becoming homeless, a UBCO study shows they learn through their interactions with different services to perform ‘as homeless’ based on the expectations of service providers. (Contributed)
Kelowna homeless forced to ‘perform’ for resources, says UBCO study

One participant in the study said ‘It is about looking homeless, but not too homeless’

Gov. Gen. Julie Payette takes the royal salute from the Guard of Honour as she makes her way deliver the the throne speech, Wednesday, September 23, 2020 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Fred Chartrand
Gov. Gen. Julie Payette resigns, apologizes for ‘tensions’ at Rideau Hall

Payette, who is the Queen’s representative in Canada, has been the governor general since 2017

Grounded WestJet Boeing 737 Max aircraft are shown at the airline’s facilities in Calgary, Alta., Tuesday, May 7, 2019. WestJet will operate the first commercial Boeing 737 Max flight in Canada today since the aircraft was grounded in 2019 following two deadly crashes. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Passengers unfazed as WestJet returns Boeing 737 Max to service on Vancouver flight

After a lengthy review process, Transport Canada cleared the plane to return to Canadian airspace

The top part of the fossil burrow, seen from the side, with feathery lines from the disturbance of the soil – thought to be caused by the worm pulling prey into the burrow. (Paleoenvironntal Sediment Laboratory/National Taiwan University)
PHOTOS: SFU researchers find evidence of ‘giant’ predatory worms on ocean floor

Fossils found the prove the existence of an ancient Taiwanese worm as long as two metres

Most Read