Evaluate the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic and the “shelter-in-place” order on orthopaedic trauma presenting to a community level II trauma center. It is hypothesized the overall number of orthopaedic trauma encounters (OTE), the number of OTEs related to both high and low severity injuries, as well as the proportion of OTEs related to high severity versus low severity injuries decreased compared to previous years.
A retrospective analysis was conducted of OTEs between 2016-2020. High and low severity OTEs were classified according to an algorithm created by the researchers. Data were statistically analyzed and compared to external data for traffic counts, motor vehicle accidents, and TSA checkpoints.
A 45.1% decrease (p=.0005) was seen in OTEs from March and April 2016-2019 compared to 2020. The decrease began approximately 12 days prior to the shelter-in-place order. There was a 58.8% decrease in high severity injuries with a fracture (p=.013) and a 42.9% decrease in low severities injuries (p=.0003). Proportion of high to low severity OTEs was unchanged.
The quantity of OTEs was significantly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and Michigan shelter-in-place order. A decrease in both high and low severity OTEs was found, however there was no statistically significant change in the ratio of high to low severity OTEs compared to previous years. While it is difficult to determine what portion of the decrease in OTE is attributable to the shelter-in-place order verses the COVID-19 pandemic in general, data suggest both play a role.
LEVEL OF EVIDENCE:
Level III. See Instructions for Authors for a complete description of Levels of Evidence.