The Impact of COVID‑19 Pandemic on the Burden and the Pattern of Hospitalization from COVID‑19 Unrelated Illnesses among Children in Barbados – A Preliminary Report from an Ongoing Study

Document Type : Original Article

Authors

1 1Department of Clinical Sciences, The Faculty of Medical Sciences, The University of the West Indies (Cave Hill), 2Department of Pediatrics, The Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Bridgetown, Barbados

2 Department of Pediatrics, The Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Bridgetown, Barbados

3 Department of Clinical Sciences, The Faculty of Medical Sciences, The University of the West Indies (Cave Hill),

10.4103/iahs.iahs_6_21

Abstract

Aims: In this study, we aim to describe the impact of COVID‑19 pandemic on the burden and pattern of hospitalization from the
COVID‑19‑unrelated illnesses among children in Barbados. Materials and Methods: This is a population‑based prospective clinical audit.
It included children (Age <16 years) admitted for COVID‑19‑unrelated illnesses to the only tertiary care hospital in this country during the
ongoing COVID‑19 pandemic. This audit covers the period extending from April to July 2020. The audit data for the corresponding period
in 2019 and and 2018, which were also collected prospectively, was used as historical control. Results: There were a total of 178 pediatric
medical admissions (PMAs) in this country from April to July 2020. This was a decline of 47.2% (95% confidence interval [CI] = 41.6%,
52.5%) compared to the 336 PMA during the corresponding period in 2019 and 2018. The decline in the number of admissions from asthma
phenotypes, respiratory infections, and gastrointestinal infections accounted for 88.0% (95% CI – 78.6%, 94.8%) of the total decline in
PMA during the pandemic‑related lockdown period when compared with the corresponding period in 2019. The difference in the proportion
of children who required transfer to the pediatric intensive care unit during the pandemic and the corresponding period in 2019 and 2018
was statistically not significant (P = 0.8234). Conclusions: A sharp decline in the admissions from asthma phenotypes and those from the
respiratory tract and gastrointestinal tract infections resulted in a close to 50% decline in hospitalizations from COVID‑19‑unrelated illnesses
among children in this population.

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