Ebinger and colleagues reviewed the medical records of more than 7,000 people who received outpatient or inpatient care for COVID-19 within the Cedars-Sinai Health System between August 2020 and May 2021. They reviewed data from three time periods: pre-surge (August 25, 2020, to November 7, 2020), surge (November 8, 2020, to February 22, 2021) and post-surge (February 23, 2021, to May 8, 2021).
Despite a rapid increase in the number of patients with COVID-19 during the winter of 2020, Cedars-Sinai was able to care for all patients who sought services. A total of 536 patients were diagnosed with COVID-19 during the pre-surge period, 6,372 during the surge period and 480 during the post-surge period. There were 11 deaths during the pre-surge period, 385 during the surge period and 16 during the post-surge period.
The investigators found that people who were treated during the surge period were 2.64 times more likely to die from COVID-19 than people who received care during the pre-surge and post-surge periods. The risk of dying corresponded with an increase in patient volume during the surge period. This was true even after the investigators analyzed data based on factors such as sex, race, ethnicity, hypertension, diabetes, and other preexisting illnesses and conditions.
People who sought care during the surge period, however, were more likely to have severe illness.