COVID-19’s impact on injury: Preliminary patterns across Texas

 

Last week the Texas Injury Prevention Leadership Collaborative held an emergency meeting to discuss ways to report the impact of COVID-19 on unintentional and intentional injury.

The call was led by Mr. Kevin Rix, the Injury Prevention Coordinator at the Dell Seton Medical Center at the University of Texas.

The call was calm and well-coordinated with more than 30 in attendance. The myriad of practitioners, researchers, and hospital representatives from across the state led to the unveiling of interesting revelations, the sharing of best practices, and the brainstorming of next steps in terms of data collection and public health campaigns.

Each stakeholder, by state area, was given an opportunity to share their experiences. Overall, it’s clear that several trends have started to emerge across Texas in regards to unintentional and intentional injury:

  • Child abuse: Hospitals are seeing severe child abuse increasing, while less severe child abuse visits are decreasing. This was attributed to mandatory reporters (i.e. teachers) not having access to students every day. Child abuse deaths are more now more common with older kids (2-5 years) unlike before where they were usually 2 years and younger.
  • Motor vehicle: Injuries and deaths have dropped to almost to zero across the state, which is likely due to decreased exposure.
  • Suicide: Rates haven’t seemed to change thus far, but rather the mechanisms are getting more innovative. For example, there are reports of more hangings than jumpers.
  • Drownings: Haven’t seen change, but there are anticipated increases with warmer weather. Many groups across Texas are planning for drowning prevention public health campaigns.
  • Burns: Unintentional burns have significantly increased. This is likely attributed to cooking accidents now that families are home more.
  • Gun-related injuries: have skyrocketed

This statewide response is important. As with other public health issues, it is critical to have the infrastructure in place so that we can proactively track the impact of COVID-19 on injuries and plan prevention models to address each. We plan on meeting each month.

Please email me at Katelyn.k.jetelina@uth.tmc.edu if your state is doing something similar and would like to be highlighted in Injury Prevention.

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