Increases in Violence and Changes in Trauma Admissions During the COVID Quarantine

Am Surg. 2022 Mar;88(3):356-359. doi: 10.1177/00031348211050824. Epub 2021 Nov 3.


Background: The COVID-19 pandemic caused an abrupt change to societal norms. We anecdotally noticed an increase in penetrating and violent trauma during the period of stay-at-home orders. Studying these changes will allow trauma centers to better prepare for future waves of COVID-19 or other global catastrophes.

Methods: We queried our institutional database for all level 1 and 2 trauma activations presenting from the scene within our local county from March 18 to May 21, 2020 and matched time periods from 2016 to 2019. Primary outcomes were overall trauma volume, rates of penetrating trauma, rates of violent trauma, and transfusion requirements.

Results: The number of penetrating and violent traumas at our trauma center during the period of societal quarantine for the COVID-19 pandemic was more than any historical total. During the COVID-19 time period, we saw 39 penetrating traumas, while the mean value for the same time period from 2016 to 2019 was 26 (P = .03). We saw 45 violent traumas during COVID; the mean value from 2016 to 2019 was 32 (P = .05). There was also a higher rate of trauma patients requiring transfusion in the COVID cohort (6.7% vs 12.2%).

Discussion: Societal quarantine increased the number of penetrating and violent traumas, with a concurrent increased percentage of patients transfused. Despite this, there was no change in outcomes. Given the continuation of the COVID-19 pandemic, quarantine measures could be re-implemented. Data from this study can help guide expectations and utilization of hospital resources in the future.

Keywords: COVID-19; blood tranfusion; penetrating trauma.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Distribution
  • Aged
  • Arkansas / epidemiology
  • Blood Transfusion / statistics & numerical data*
  • COVID-19 / epidemiology*
  • COVID-19 / prevention & control
  • Female
  • Hospitalization
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pandemics*
  • Quarantine
  • Sex Distribution
  • Time Factors
  • Trauma Centers / statistics & numerical data*
  • Violence / statistics & numerical data
  • Wounds, Nonpenetrating / epidemiology*
  • Wounds, Penetrating / epidemiology*
  • Young Adult