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SPECIAL ARTICLE   Openopen access

Italian Journal of Emergency Medicine 2020 August;9(2):112-7

DOI: 10.23736/S2532-1285.20.00033-6

Copyright © 2020 THE AUTHORS

This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license

language: English

COVID-19 outbreak and Emergency Department response in Piedmont region

Roberta PETRINO , Gian A. CIBINEL, Emergency Medicine Piedmont Working Group (ED Piedmont Directors) 

Unit of Emergency Medicine, S. Andrea Hospital, Vercelli, Italy



SARS CoV2 virus is responsible of the disease COVID-19 and of the pandemic that has spread from China to Europe and then to the rest of the world, in January 2020. In Italy COVID-19 has interested mainly northern regions and in particular Lombardia and Piedmont where the epidemic diffusion became evident at the beginning of March. In Piedmont a Crisis Unit was set up very soon, and a coordinator and a representative of the 23 Emergency Departments of the region was constantly present to keep records of the network, help in distributing patients where there was more availability of beds, help in providing technical equipment and instructions. From the beginning of the epidemics to the end of May, more than 30,000 patients were diagnosed COVID-19 with a lethality of 12.6%. It was necessary to double the ICU beds and to increase by 60% the High Dependency Unit beds, many of which managed by the Emergency Departments. Following the indication of the Crisis Unit, each Emergency Department set up a pre-triage post at the entrance of the hospital, to be able to separate in two different pathways the suspect Covid patients and the non-suspect one. A specific work up and treatment of Covid patients included early initiation of CPAP directly in the ED. During the phase II when Covid patients were less, a specific diagnostic algorithm was set up, to protect non Covid patients from possible contagion.


KEY WORDS: COVID-19; Emergency service, hospital; Epidemics

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