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Motor vehicle collision (MVC) emergency department (ED) visits and hospitalisations in Ontario during the COVID-19 pandemic

Abstract

Background The COVID-19 pandemic policy response dramatically changed local transportation patterns. This project investigated the impact of COVID-19 policies on motor vehicle collision (MVC)-related emergency department (ED) visits and hospitalisations in Ontario.

Methods Data were collected on MVC-related ED visits and hospitalisations in Ontario between March 2016 and December 2022. Using an interrupted time series design, negative binomial regression models were fitted to the pre-pandemic data, including monthly indicator variables for seasonality and accounting for autocorrelation. Extrapolations simulated expected outcome trajectories during the pandemic, which were compared with actual observed outcome counts using the overall per cent change and mean monthly difference. Data were modelled separately for vehicle occupants, pedestrians and cyclists (MVC and non-MVC injuries).

Results There was a 31.5% decrease in observed ED visits (95% CI –35.4 to –27.3) and a 6.0% decrease in hospitalisations (95% CI −13.2 to 1.6) among vehicle occupants, relative to expected counts during the pandemic. Results were similar for pedestrians. Among cyclist MVCs, there was an increase in ED visits (12.8%, 95% CI −8.2 to 39.4) and hospitalisations (46.0%, 95% CI 11.6 to 93.6). Among non-MVC cyclists, there was also an increase in ED visits (47.0%, 95% CI 12.5 to 86.8) and hospitalisations (50.1%, 95% CI 8.2 to 101.2).

Conclusions We observed fewer vehicle occupant and pedestrian collision injuries than expected during the pandemic. By contrast, we observed more cycling injuries than expected, especially in cycling injuries not involving motor vehicles. These observations may be attributable to changes in transportation patterns during the pandemic and increased uptake of recreational cycling.

  • Time series
  • Epidemiology
  • Pedestrian
  • Motor vehicle � Occupant
  • Bicycle
  • COVID-19

Data availability statement

Data may be obtained from a third party and are not publicly available.

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