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The effect of the COVID-19 lockdown on children with asthma-related symptoms: A tertiary care center experience
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  • Inbal Golan-Tripto,
  • Noga* Arwas,
  • Michal Maimon,
  • Romi Bari,
  • Micha Aviram,
  • Dvir Gatt,
  • Aviv Goldbart
Inbal Golan-Tripto
Soroka University Medical Center
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Noga* Arwas
Soroka Medical Center
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Michal Maimon
Soroka Medical Center
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Romi Bari
Soroka Medical Center
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Micha Aviram
Soroka Medical Center
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Dvir Gatt
Soroka Medical Center
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Aviv Goldbart
Soroka Medical Center
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Abstract

Background: Acute asthma exacerbations are a common cause for emergency department (ED) visits and hospitalizations in children. Since the outbreak of COVID-19 and the education system closure/ total lockdown in Israel on March 2020, we have noticed a decrease in pediatric ED visits and an increase in hospitalizations of asthma exacerbations. Objective: to examine the patterns of ED visits for asthma exacerbations during COVID-19 outbreak, in comparison to the previous year. Methods: a retrospective study comparing asthma related ED visits and hospitalizations among children aged 2-18 years at a tertiary center in southern Israel. Three time periods were selected: 2020A (pre- lockdown, 1/2/20-14/3/20), 2020B (lockdown, 15/3/20-15/5/20) and 2020 C (post- lockdown, 16/5/20-30/6/20) and compared to the three parallel time periods in 2019. Data regarding demographics, number of ED visits and clinical severity parameters were collected and analyzed. Results: 512 children visited the ED for asthma exacerbation: 273 children during 2019 and 239 children during 2020, with significantly fewer ED visits per day during the lockdown period (1.8 vs 1.43, p<0.001), compared to the parallel period in 2019. Significantly higher hospitalization rate (47.1% vs 33.7%, p=0.05) and longer length of stay (LOS) (3.15 vs 1.9 days, p= 0.03) were observed during the lockdown. Conclusion: lockdown is associated with fewer ED visits for asthma exacerbation, probably due to; reduced exposure to viral infections and environmental allergens, decreased availability of primary physicians and families’ reluctance to arrive to the ED. ED visits during lockdown were characterized by higher hospitalization rate and longer LOS.

Peer review status:ACCEPTED

05 Feb 2021Submitted to Pediatric Pulmonology
05 Feb 2021Submission Checks Completed
05 Feb 2021Assigned to Editor
08 Feb 2021Reviewer(s) Assigned
08 Mar 2021Review(s) Completed, Editorial Evaluation Pending
10 Mar 2021Editorial Decision: Revise Major
21 Mar 20211st Revision Received
22 Mar 2021Submission Checks Completed
22 Mar 2021Assigned to Editor
22 Mar 2021Reviewer(s) Assigned
06 Apr 2021Review(s) Completed, Editorial Evaluation Pending
07 Apr 2021Editorial Decision: Revise Minor
30 Apr 20212nd Revision Received
03 May 2021Submission Checks Completed
03 May 2021Assigned to Editor
03 May 2021Reviewer(s) Assigned
11 May 2021Review(s) Completed, Editorial Evaluation Pending
15 May 2021Editorial Decision: Accept