Introduction: Hospital admissions fell dramatically in Romania during the COVID-19 pandemic partially due to urgent legislation for controlling the infection rates that influenced the selection criteria for hospitalization and also due to fear of infection with SARS-CoV-2 which resulted in avoiding medical services.
Aim: This study aimed to assess the impact of COVID-19 pandemic on the population availability to access medical services by comparing the admission rates for all departments of the University Emergency Hospital, Bucharest, from March to August 2019 and March to August 2020.
Methods: A cohort of 38.730 patients was analyzed according to hospitalization rate from March to August 2019 and March to August 2020.
Results: From March to August 2020 patients were hospitalized as a result of a medical emergency rather than an appointment, as outpatient and hospitalization rates changed dramatically. Thus, 67.4% accessed hospitalization from March to August 2019 and 32.6% accessed hospitalization from March to August 2020. The proportion of the patients admitted from the Ambulatory Care Unit decreased significantly from 44.2% in 2019 to 32.7% in 2020. Also, the structure of the patients’ profile has been affected.
Discussion: The COVID-19 pandemic period in 2020 (March-September) affected the hospitalization rate and the structure of the patients’ profile that came to the University Emergency Hospital in Bucharest, Romania.
Conclusion: The patients who would have accessed the medical health services that might have resulted in hospitalization could have resulted in out-of-hospital deaths and this should also be the focus of the public health authorities.