Statement of purpose Little is known about the relationship between Stay-At-Home (SAH) orders issued by state governments due to the COVID-19 pandemic and their impacts on motor vehicle-related injuries. The purpose of this study was to determine whether the presence of a SAH was associated with lower rates of motor-vehicle-related injuries requiring emergency medical treatment among population sub-groups in West Virginia (WV) (i.e. males, females, 0–17, 18–15, 26–45, 46–65, >66 years old).
Methods/Approach A SAH order was in effect in WV from March 23 until May 4, 2020 (week 13–18 of 2020). Counts of individuals who incurred motor-vehicle-related injuries that required emergency medical treatment in WV were obtained from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Syndromic Surveillance system from Jan 1, 2019 thru Sept 6, 2020. Counts were obtained by week- year and by population subgroup. The presence of the SAH order was binary coded by week. Negative binomial regression was used to assess the relationship between the presence of a SAH and injury rates. 2019 population sub-group estimates were obtained from the United States Census Bureau and used as offsets in the models.
Results There were 28,763 motor-vehicle related injuries during the study period. The presence of the SAH was associated with 46% less injuries overall [Incident Rate Ratio (IRR)=0.54, 95% CI 0.47, 0.62]. During the SAH, females experienced fewer injuries than males (IRR=0.49 vs 0.59, respectively) and the number of injuries decreased with age (p-value 0.031).
Conclusions WV’s SAH order was associated with lower motor-vehicle injury rates across all populations sub-groups. These findings indicate that most population sub-groups likely altered their travel behaviors which resulted in lower motor-vehicle injury rates.
Significance These findings may inform future policies that impose emergency travel restrictions in populations.
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