A Retrospective Analysis of the Initial Effect of COVID-19 on German Prehospital Care During Lockdown in Germany.
IntroductionThis retrospective cohort analysis examines the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic in the prehospital setting in Germany. The data of two emergency physician response units of a northern German region with 1.2 million citizens was analyzed retrospectively.
Materials and methodsWe analyzed the period March 16 to April 16 for the year 2020 when the lockdown took place in Germany and compare the results for the same period for the year 2019 and 2018. 1004 patients were included. Demographic data, the type of rescue missions, the number of missions per day, the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics Score (NACA-score), the frequency of respiratory emergencies (COVID-19 and non-COVID-19 associated), as well as the number of deaths were documented.
ResultsMean age was 62.3±24.8 years and 576 (56.5%) were male. Number of missions were 397, 403 and 333 in 2018, 2019 and 2020 respectively. The control room registered a 22% reduction of rescue missions for the year 2020. Even the amount of emergency calls via the emergency number 112 was reduced by 17.4% between 2018 and 2020. 150 (14.9%) missions were due to respiratory emergencies. In 2020 10 missions (28.6% of respiratory emergencies) were COVID-19 related. In 2020 the NACA score increased significantly.
ConclusionWe found a decreasing effect of the COVID-19 pandemic in Germany on the number of emergency calls as well as missions, and an increase of the severity of cases in preclinical care for a northern German region with 1.2 million citizens. The effect of these findings caused by COVID-19 on the health care system remains to be seen.