Panamerican Journal of Trauma, Critical Care & Emergency Surgery

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VOLUME 9 , ISSUE 2 ( May-August, 2020 ) > List of Articles


Effects of Social Distancing on the Incidence of Traumatic Injuries

Kristen Nordham, Danielle Tatum, Juan Duchesne

Citation Information : Nordham K, Tatum D, Duchesne J. Effects of Social Distancing on the Incidence of Traumatic Injuries. Panam J Trauma Crit Care Emerg Surg 2020; 9 (2):122-125.

DOI: 10.5005/jp-journals-10030-1277

License: CC BY-NC 4.0

Published Online: 18-11-2020

Copyright Statement:  Copyright © 2020; The Author(s).


Aim: To understand how social distancing orders impact the incidence of traumatic injuries. Background: In an attempt to blunt the spread of the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, social distancing and stay home orders have been enforced. Here we analyze the effect that these public health measures have had on the rate of traumatic injury presenting to a level 1 trauma center. Materials and methods: This is a retrospective analysis of the number of trauma patients presenting to a level I trauma center from January 2019 through April 2020. Patients were identified using an institutional trauma registry and include trauma transfers, trauma activations, and admitted trauma patients. The independent samples t-test and the Mann–Whitney U test were used to assess differences between groups. Shapiro–Wilk and Levene's tests were used to assess normality and variances, respectively. Results: When comparing daily admissions in 2020 before and after social distancing orders, there was a significant reduction in the median daily number of trauma patients (12 vs 8.5; p < 0.0001) after the social distancing order was put into place. Additionally, there was a significant decrease in the mean number of weekly trauma patients presenting to our hospital in 2020 before and after social distancing orders (86.1 vs 60.3; p < 0.0001). When looking at weekly patient counts, there was a significant reduction in blunt trauma patients when comparing pre- and post-social distancing (56.6 vs 35.7; p < 0.01). However, there was no change in the number of weekly penetrating injuries (17.0 vs 17.1). Conclusion: Social distancing orders have significantly reduced the number of blunt trauma patients presenting to our level 1 trauma center. Further studies will be needed to determine long-term effects of these measures.

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