Emergency room COVID cases lower in pandemic's first year than expected: CDC

Only 1.8% of the 131 million ER visits during the first year of the pandemic involved a confirmed coronavirus case, according to the CDC.

Updated: November 22, 2022 - 8:43pm

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In 2020, only 6.7% of hospital emergency room visits had any mention of COVID-19, according to a new report released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Only 1.8% of the 131 million ER visits during the first year of the pandemic involved a confirmed coronavirus case, the CDC reported.

Suspected COVID cases were just 0.3%, while 3.3% involved testing or screening and other mentions of COVID, "including visits by patients with suspected exposure" to it, were just 1.8%.

According to the CDC, the numbers are from "the very early stages of the pandemic," prior to medical professionals creating and using an international diagnosis code for the virus, according to the Washington Times.

The CDC suggests that the numbers may be undercounted as a result of not being able to accurately track COVID cases.

The numbers were lower than expected because, "During the early days and months of the pandemic, it was unclear what was going on," said Thomas Plante, a member of the American Psychological Association. "It took a long while for emergency room personnel to get their sea legs in order to effectively diagnose and then treat COVID."

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