Pandemic trends in health care use: From the hospital bed to self-care with COVID-19.

Methi F, Hernæs KH, Skyrud KD, Magnusson K

PLoS One 17 (3) e0265812 [2022-03-23; online 2022-03-23]

To explore whether the acute 30-day burden of COVID-19 on health care use has changed from February 2020 to February 2022. In all Norwegians (N = 493 520) who tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 in four pandemic waves (February 26th, 2020 -February 16th, 2021 (1st wave dominated by the Wuhan strain), February 17th-July 10th, 2021 (2nd wave dominated by the Alpha variant), July 11th-December 27th, 2021 (3rd wave dominated by the Delta variant), and December 28th, 2021 -January 14th, 2022 (4th wave dominated by the Omicron variant)), we studied the age- and sex-specific share of patients (by age groups 1-19, 20-67, and 68 or more) who had: 1) Relied on self-care, 2) used outpatient care (visiting general practitioners or emergency ward for COVID-19), and 3) used inpatient care (hospitalized ≥24 hours with COVID-19). We find a remarkable decline in the use of health care services among COVID-19 patients for all age/sex groups throughout the pandemic. From 83% [95%CI = 83%-84%] visiting outpatient care in the first wave, to 80% [81%-81%], 69% [69%-69%], and 59% [59%-59%] in the second, third, and fourth wave. Similarly, from 4.9% [95%CI = 4.7%-5.0%] visiting inpatient care in the first wave, to 3.6% [3.4%-3.7%], 1.4% [1.3%-1.4%], and 0.5% [0.4%-0.5%]. Of persons testing positive for SARS-CoV-2, 41% [41%-41%] relied on self-care in the 30 days after testing positive in the fourth wave, compared to 16% [15%-16%] in the first wave. From 2020 to 2022, the use of COVID-19 related outpatient care services decreased with 29%, whereas the use of COVID-19 related inpatient care services decreased with 80%.

Category: Public Health

Type: Journal article

PubMed 35320323

DOI 10.1371/journal.pone.0265812

Crossref 10.1371/journal.pone.0265812

pii: PONE-D-21-37160
pmc: PMC8942224

Publications 7.1.2