FRIDAY, Sept. 11, 2020 (HealthDay Information) — There could have been circumstances of COVID-19 in Los Angeles as early as final December, months earlier than the primary recognized U.S. circumstances have been recognized, a brand new research claims.
Researchers analyzed information from greater than 10 million affected person go to data for College of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) Well being outpatient, emergency division and hospital amenities. They in contrast information from the interval between Dec. 1, 2019, and Feb. 29, 2020, to information from the identical months within the earlier 5 years.
Outpatient visits for coughs elevated 50% within the months earlier than the pandemic, and exceeded the typical variety of visits for a similar signs by greater than 1,000 in contrast with the identical time interval within the earlier 5 years.
The researchers additionally discovered that within the months earlier than the pandemic, there was a major improve within the variety of sufferers with coughs seen at emergency departments, and within the variety of sufferers hospitalized with acute respiratory failure.
The research was revealed Sept. 10 within the Journal of Medical Web Analysis.
Different elements — comparable to the flu and vaping — might have contributed to a few of the surprising improve, however the findings present the significance of analyzing digital well being data to rapidly determine uncommon modifications in affected person patterns, based on the researchers.
“For a lot of illnesses, information from the outpatient setting can present an early warning to emergency departments and hospital intensive care items of what’s to return,” stated research lead writer Dr. Joann Elmore, a professor of drugs at UCLA’s David Geffen Faculty of Drugs.
“The vast majority of COVID-19 research consider hospitalization information, however we additionally regarded on the bigger outpatient clinic setting, the place most sufferers flip first for medical care when sickness and signs come up,” she stated in an UCLA information launch.
“We could by no means actually know if these extra sufferers represented early and undetected COVID-19 circumstances in our space,” Elmore stated. “However the classes discovered from this pandemic, paired with well being care analytics that allow real-time surveillance of illness and signs, can doubtlessly assist us determine and observe rising outbreaks and future epidemics.”