ED visits for heart attacks dropped 23% after pandemic started, CDC says

In the months after the declaration of the COVID-19 national emergency March 13, visits to the emergency departments for heart attacks declined by more than 20 percent, CDC data shows.

CDC researchers used data from its National Syndromic Surveillance Program to assess trends in ED visits in the 10 weeks after the COVID-19 crisis was declared a national emergency.

They found that between March 15 and May 23, ED visits declined 23 percent for myocardial infarction, or heart attacks, compared to the 10 weeks preceding the emergency declaration (Jan. 5 to March 14).

Researchers also found that ED visits for stroke fell by 20 percent and for hyperglycemic crisis, they dropped by 10 percent, in the period before the emergency declaration compared to the period after.

"Clear, frequent, highly visible communication from public health and healthcare professionals is needed to reinforce the importance of timely care for medical emergencies and to assure the public that EDs are implementing infection prevention and control guidelines that help ensure the safety of their patients and healthcare personnel," researchers said.

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