Objective: To assess the impact of the pandemic on surgical activity and the occurrence and features of Covid-19 in a Covid-free urologic unit in a regional hospital in Northern Italy. Materials and Methods: Our Department is the only urologic service in the Trento Province, near Lombardy, the epicenter of Covid-19 in our Country. We reviewed the surgical and ward activities during the 4 weeks following the national lockdown (March 9 to April 5, 2020). The following outcomes were investigated: surgical load, rate of admissions and bed occupation, and the rate and characteristics of unrecognized Covid-positive patients. Data were compared with that of the same period of 2019 (March 11 to April 7). Results and Conclusion: About 63%, 70%, 64%, and 71%, decline in surgery, endoscopy, bed occupation, and admission, respectively, occurred during the 4 weeks after the lockdown, as compared to 2019. Urgent procedures also declined by 32%. Three (8%) of 39 admissions regarded unrecognized Covid-19 overlapping or misinterpreted with urgent urologic conditions such as fever-associated urinary stones or hematuria. In spite of a significant reduction of activity, a non-negligible portion of admissions to our Covid-free unit regarded unrecognized Covid-19. In order to preserve its integrity, we propose an enhanced triage prior to the admission to a Covid-free unit including not only routine questions on fever and respiratory symptoms but also nonrespiratory symptoms, history of exposure, and a survey about the social and geographic origin of the patient.
ASJC Scopus subject areas