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Impact of Coronavirus Disease 2019 Shutdown on Neurotrauma Volume in Pennsylvania.



The 2020 coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic resulted in state-specific quarantine protocols and introduced the concept of social distancing into modern parlance. We assess the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on neurotrauma presentations in the first 3 months after shutdown throughout Pennsylvania.


The Pennsylvania Trauma Systems Foundation was queried for registry data from the Pennsylvania Trauma Outcomes Study between March 12 and June 5 in each year from 2017 to 2020.


After the COVID-19 shutdown, there was a 27% reduction in neurotrauma volume, from 2680 cases in 2017 to 2018 cases in 2020, and a 28.8% reduction in traumatic brain injury volume. There was no significant difference in neurotrauma phenotype incurred relative to total cases. Injury mechanism was less likely to be motor vehicle collision and more likely caused by falls, gunshot wound, and recreational vehicle accidents (P < 0.05). Location of injury was less likely on roads and public locations and more likely at indoor private locations (P < 0.05). The proportion of patients with neurotrauma with blood alcohol concentration >0.08 g/dL was reduced in 2020 (11.4% vs. 9.0%; P < 0.05). Mortality was higher during 2020 compared with pre-COVID years (7.7% vs. 6.4%; P < 0.05).


During statewide shutdown, neurotrauma volume and alcohol-related trauma decreased and low-impact traumas and gunshot wounds increased, with a shift toward injuries occurring in private, indoor locations. These changes increased mortality. However, there was not a change in the types of injuries sustained.

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