SARS-CoV-2 pandemic impact on pediatric emergency rooms: A multicenter study


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From March 9 to May 3, 2020, lockdown was declared in Italy due to the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) pandemic. Our aim was to evaluate how the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic and related preventive strategies affected pediatric emergency rooms (ERs) during this period. We performed a retrospective cohort multicenter study, comparing the lockdown period to the corresponding period in 2019. We examined 15 Italian pediatric ERs in terms of visit rates, specific diagnoses (grouped as air communicable diseases and non-air communicable diseases), and triage categories. During the lockdown period, ER admissions decreased by 81% compared to 2019 (52,364 vs. 10,112). All ER specific diagnoses decreased in 2020 and this reduction was significantly higher for air communicable diseases (25,462 vs. 2934, p < 0.001). Considering the triage category, red codes remained similar (1% vs. 1%), yellow codes increased (11.2% vs. 22.3%), and green codes decreased (80.3% vs. 69.5%). We can speculate that social distancing and simple hygiene measures drastically reduced the spread of air communicable diseases. The increase in yellow codes may have been related to a delay in primary care and, consequently, in ER admissions.

Original languageEnglish
Article number8753
Pages (from-to)1-12
Number of pages12
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number23
Publication statusPublished - Dec 1 2020


  • Air communicable infections
  • Emergency rooms
  • Lockdown measures
  • Pandemic
  • Pediatric
  • SARS-CoV-2

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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