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

Monica Newman has been part of the Langley Walk for more than 40 years, both as a participant and more recently as a volunteer, collecting badges for each year. (Langley Advance Times files)
59th annual Langley Walk goes virtual again

For the second year running, the historic community event has had to morph due to COVID

Police tape is shown in Toronto Tuesday, May 2, 2017. Statistics Canada says the country's crime rate ticked up again in 2018, for a fourth year in a row, though it was still lower than it was a decade ago. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graeme Roy
CRIME STOPPERS: ‘Most wanted’ for the week of May 9

Crime Stoppers’ weekly list based on information provided by police investigators

After Bobby Henderson apologized online for his comments to a Toronto reporter, the Langley Rivermen announced that he was no longer team coach and general manager and in fact, had ‘parted ways’ with the franchise in March. (file/Twitter)
Former Langley Rivermen coach and GM apologizes for comments to Toronto reporter

Bobby Henderson blames stress due to the pandemic for his ‘disparaging’ remarks

Nurses Ann Bason and Brandon Hunt stand outside the new Langley Memorial Hospital entrance (Dan Ferguson/Langley Advance Times)
Working during a pandemic; what it’s like for two nurses at Langley Memorial Hospital

COVID has changed a lot, but not their devotion to their profession

Kay Palmer and Doris Riedweg were nurses at Langley Memorial Hospital for several years. (Heather Colpitts/Langley Advance Times)
VIDEO: Retired Langley nurses loved caring careers

Langley Hospital Heritage Committee members share historical perspective for National Nurses Week

(The Canadian Press)
Trudeau won’t say whether Canada supports patent waiver for COVID-19 vaccines

‘Canada is at the table to help find a solution’

The body of Brenda Ware, 35, was found along Highway 93 in Kootenay National Park on Thursday, May 6, 2021. (RCMP handout)
RCMP ask for tips after woman’s body found in Kootenay National Park

Brenda Ware was found along Highway 93 in the park, 54 kilometres north of the town of Radium

People pass the red hearts on the COVID-19 Memorial Wall mourning those who have died, opposite the Houses of Parliament on the Embankment in London, Wednesday, April 7, 2021. On May 3, the British government announced that only one person had died of COVID-19 in the previous 24 hours. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Kirsty Wigglesworth
For a view of a COVID-19 future, Canadians should look across the pond

Britain, like Canada, is one of the only countries in the world to delay second doses for several months

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

Edmonton Oilers’ Connor McDavid (97) celebrates his 100th point this season with Leon Draisaitl (29) against the Vancouver Canucks during second period NHL action in Edmonton on Saturday, May 8, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Edmonton superstar McDavid hits 100-point mark as Oilers edge Canucks 4-3

NHL scoring leader needs just 53 games to reach century mark

Nuns of Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity, carry some of her relics during a vigil of prayer in preparation for the canonization of Mother Teresa in the St. John in Latheran Basilica at the Vatican, Friday, Sept. 2, 2016. In which city did she do much of her charitable work? (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)
QUIZ: How much do you know about these motherhood issues?

In honour of Mother’s Day, take this 10-question quiz

Twenty-nine staff members at Sunrise Poultry Processors Ltd. in Newton have tested positive for the virus, according to an information bulletin from Fraser Health Saturday (May 8). The health authority issued a 10-day closure order, effective May 7. (Image: Google Maps)
29 staff test positive for COVID-19 at Surrey poultry processing plant

Meantime, outbreak over at Surrey Memorial Hospital

A map showing where the most number of cases were recorded from April 23 to 29. This map, revealing a breakdown of infections by neighborhood, was pulled from a data package leaked to the Vancouver Sun last week (and independently verified).
36 Abbotsford schools flagged for COVID-19 exposures in the last 2 weeks, shattering record

Clearbrook Elementary recorded an ‘exposure’ on all 11 school days

Most Read