Traumatic Injury Under COVID-19 Stay-at-home Advisory: Experience of a New England Trauma Center

UMMS Affiliation

Department of Surgery

Publication Date


Document Type



Infectious Disease | Surgery | Trauma | Virus Diseases


BACKGROUND: With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent widespread stay-at-home advisories throughout early 2020, hospitals have noticed a decrease in illnesses unrelated to COVID-19. However, the impact on traumatic injury is relatively unknown. This study aims to characterize patterns of trauma during the COVID-19 pandemic at a Level I Trauma Center.

MATERIALS and METHODS: A retrospective review was performed of adult trauma patients from March to June, in the years 2018 through 2020. Primary outcome was the number of trauma activations (volume). Secondary outcomes included activation level, mechanism of injury, mortality rate, and length of stay, and other demographic background. Trauma patterns of the 2018 and 2019 periods were combined as historical control, and compared to patterns of the biweekly-matched period of 2020.

RESULTS: A total of 2,187 patients were included in analysis (Pre-COVID n = 1,572; COVID n = 615). Results were significant for decreased trauma volume but longer length of stay during COVID cohort, and for an increased proportion of males. No significant difference was found for other demographic variables, trauma mechanisms, or severity. Trauma volume patterns mirrored COVID rates in the state.

CONCLUSIONS: Despite a decline in trauma volume, other trauma patterns including severity and mechanism remained unchanged during the COVID-19 period. The decreased volume was not associated with a markedly lower clinical workload, change in team structure, or provider coverage re-distribution. Our data suggests that trauma volume and severity remained high enough during COVID-19 peak to necessitate full staffing, which may provide guidance in the event of a pandemic resurgence.


Blunt, COVID19, Injury, Pandemic, Penetrating, Trauma

DOI of Published Version



Williams CH, Scott EM, Dorfman JD, Simon BJ. Traumatic Injury Under COVID-19 Stay-at-home Advisory: Experience of a New England Trauma Center. J Surg Res. 2021 Aug 10;269:165-170. doi: 10.1016/j.jss.2021.08.005. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 34563843; PMCID: PMC8352668. Link to article on publisher's site

Journal/Book/Conference Title

The Journal of surgical research

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Link to Article in PubMed

PubMed ID