Impacts of mild COVID-19 on elevated use of primary and specialist health care services: A nationwide register study from Norway.

Skyrud KD, Hernæs KH, Telle KE, Magnusson K

PLoS One 16 (10) e0257926 [2021-10-08; online 2021-10-08]

To explore the temporal impact of mild COVID-19 on need for primary and specialist health care services. In all adults (≥20 years) tested for SARS-CoV-2 in Norway March 1st 2020 to February 1st 2021 (N = 1 401 922), we contrasted the monthly all-cause health care use before and up to 6 months after the test (% relative difference), for patients with a positive test for SARS-CoV-2 (non-hospitalization, i.e. mild COVID-19) and patients with a negative test (no COVID-19). We found a substantial short-term elevation in primary care use in all age groups, with men generally having a higher relative increase (men 20-44 years: 522%, 95%CI = 509-535, 45-69 years: 439%, 95%CI = 426-452, ≥70 years: 199%, 95%CI = 180-218) than women (20-44 years: 342, 95%CI = 334-350, 45-69 years = 375, 95%CI = 365-385, ≥70 years: 156%, 95%CI = 141-171) at 1 month following positive test. At 2 months, this sex difference was less pronounced, with a (20-44 years: 21%, 95%CI = 13-29, 45-69 years = 38%, 95%CI = 30-46, ≥70 years: 15%, 95%CI = 3-28) increase in primary care use for men, and a (20-44 years: 30%, 95%CI = 24-36, 45-69 years = 57%, 95%CI = 50-64, ≥70 years: 14%, 95%CI = 4-24) increase for women. At 3 months after test, only women aged 45-70 years still had an increased primary care use (14%, 95%CI = 7-20). The increase was due to respiratory- and general/unspecified conditions. We observed no long-term (4-6 months) elevation in primary care use, and no elevation in specialist care use. Mild COVID-19 gives an elevated need for primary care that vanishes 2-3 months after positive test. Middle-aged women had the most prolonged increased primary care use.

Category: Health

Type: Journal article

PubMed 34624023

DOI 10.1371/journal.pone.0257926

Crossref 10.1371/journal.pone.0257926

pii: PONE-D-21-20514


Publications 7.0.1