This investigation sought to compare admissions, length of stay, and mortality among medical intensive care unit (MICU) patients without coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) infection admitted to an urban safety-net hospital during the pandemic by patients’ self-identified race and ethnicity.
Materials and Methods
We conducted a retrospective observational study comparing MICU admissions before and during the first surge of COVID-19 illness at an urban, safety-net hospital in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
MICU admissions declined from a pre-pandemic average of 968 to 761 during the first COVID surge, including 627 patients (82%) without COVID-19 infection. MICU mortality among patients without COVID-19 infection during the pandemic was 12.8% compared to 9.6% in the pre-pandemic period (p = 0.045). However, rates of non-COVID-19 MICU admissions, mortality, volume, and length of stay did not differ by race and ethnicity between time periods. Of the 131 MICU admissions with COVID-19 infection, patients were more frequently Hispanic ethnicity (24%) or Black (40%), and less frequently White (22%) compared to the pre-pandemic cohort (7%, 30%, and 48%, respectively [p < 0.001]).
During the first COVID-19 surge, MICU admissions for non-COVID-19 disease decreased from pre-pandemic levels, but these patients experienced greater mortality. Unlike critically ill patients admitted with COVID-19 infection, admissions and hospital mortality did not differ by race and ethnicity compared to the pre-pandemic period.