Data from the Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI) from the first wave of the pandemic shows 25,000 fewer people visiting Canada’s ERs every day in April 2020. This figure is about half the usual daily volume Canada’s ERs would typically see.
Even visits for patients with the most serious conditions — ones that involved heart attacks and strokes, for instance — dropped by about 30 per cent. Deaths in Canadian ERs also increased, with cardiac events being the most common cause.
What this data makes clear is that many Canadians may have postponed or entirely avoided emergency rooms during the pandemic. This may have had serious consequences. When patients did access care, many may have been sicker and needed greater interventions.