Comparing Critical Care Admissions Among Urban Populations Before and During the COVID-19 Pandemic.
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In the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, reassessing intensive care unit (ICU) use by population should be a priority for hospitals planning for critical care resource allocation. In our study, we reviewed the impact of COVID-19 on a community hospital serving an urban region, comparing the sociodemographic distribution of ICU admissions before and during the pandemic. We executed a time-sensitive analysis to see if COVID-19 ICU admissions reflect the regional sociodemographic populations and ICU admission trends before the pandemic. Sociodemographic variables included sex, race, ethnicity, and age of adult patients (ages 18 years and older) admitted to the hospital's medical and cardiac ICUs, which were converted to COVID-19 ICUs. The time period selected was 18 months, which was then dichotomized into pre-COVID-19 admissions (December 1, 2018 to March 13, 2020) and COVID-19 ICU admissions (March 14 to May 31, 2020). Variables were compared using Fisher's exact tests and Wilcoxon tests when appropriate. During the 18-month period, 1,861 patients were admitted to the aforementioned ICUs. The mean age of the patients was 62.75 (SD 15.57), with the majority of these patients being male (52.23%), White (64.43%), and non-Hispanic/Latinx (95.75%). Differences were found in racial and ethnic distribution comparing pre-COVID-19 admissions to COVID-19 admissions. Compared with pre-COVID-19 ICU admissions, we found an increase in African American versus White admissions (P = .01) and an increase in Hispanic/Latinx versus non-Hispanic/Latinx admissions (P < .01), during the COVID-19 pandemic. During the first 3 months of admissions to COVID-19 ICUs, the number of admissions among Hispanic/Latinx and African American patients increased while the number of admissions among non-Hispanic/Latinx and White patient decreased, compared with the pre-COVID-19 period. These findings support development of strategies to enhance allocation of resources to bolster novel, equitable strategies to mitigate the incidence of COVID-19 in urban populations.