LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — Cedars-Sinai reported Monday that the majority of patients who were treated and sent home to recuperate after visiting the hospital’s emergency department with suspected COVID-19 symptoms recovered within a week.
None of the patients deemed fit to go home died from the virus and fewer than 1% required care in the intensive care unit, according to the hospital, which published the findings in the Journal of the American College of Emergency Physicians Open.
“When the pandemic began, there was minimal evidence to guide us as to who should be hospitalized and who could be sent home,” Dr. Sam Torbati, co-chair and medical director of the Ruth and Harry Roman Emergency Department, said. “In real time, we began developing our criteria for who needed hospitalization for monitoring, intensive care and who could recover at home. And this study shows our patients received the appropriate level of care.”
Researchers said they looked at the outcomes of 452 patients, with a median age of 38, who sought care for COVID-19 symptoms between March 12 and April 6 in the retrospective study.
“The takeaway for the public is that emergency clinicians can safely and readily identify patients with COVID-19 who are safe for outpatient monitoring,” Torbati said. “Those who meet criteria for discharge are at very low risk of getting worse and requiring hospitalization.”
The study showed that the patients had experienced flu-like symptoms two to three days before seeking care at the emergency department and recovered in an average of five to seven days after being discharged with a comprehensive care plan, according to the hospital.
“What we learned from the study is that outpatient management is safe for most COVID-19 patients who have normal vital signs and no comorbidities,” Dr. Carl Berdahl, the first author of the study, said. “However, patients should be instructed to return to the emergency Department for worsening symptoms, including labored breathing.”
Of those included in the study, 61% had no comorbidities, or underlying health conditions, and only 13% came back for additional treatment.
The inpatient admission rate at 30 days was 4%, with fewer than 1% of patients requiring treatment in intensive care units.
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