Since the outbreak of the COVID-19 epidemic which in our region, Veneto (Italy), dates back to February, we were confronted with several challenges, but with a constant aim of keeping our Stroke Unit COVID-free. For this reason, in addition to creating a dedicated hot-spot as a pre-triage just outside the Emergency Department, together with the Neuroradiology Unit we obtained a mobile CT unit that could be used by COVID-positive or COVID-suspected patients. Furthermore, thanks to the collaboration with colleagues from different specialties (Infectious Disease, Internal Medicine, Intensive Care, Emergency Medicine), dedicated areas for COVID patients were activated. This led to a substantial change of our acute stoke management pathway. As the number of COVID patients increased, and the WHO declared a state of pandemic, this new stroke pathway has been fully tested. We would like to share our experience and send a clear message to keep a high attention on stroke as an emergency condition, because we have observed a decreased number of patients with minor strokes and TIAs, longer onset-to-door and door-to-treatment times for major strokes, and a reduced number of transfers from spokes. We strongly believe that the general population and family doctors are rightly focused on COVID. However, to remain at home with stroke symptoms does not mean to "stay safe at home".
Keywords: Acute stroke; COVID-19; Coronavirus; Stroke Unit.