Time taken by individuals with respiratory symptoms to present to primary care: a descriptive study of assessments at Australian General Practitioner-led respiratory clinics

Mansell, Victoria E., Emeto, Theophilus I., and Davis, Stephanie (2022) Time taken by individuals with respiratory symptoms to present to primary care: a descriptive study of assessments at Australian General Practitioner-led respiratory clinics. Communicable Diseases Intelligence, 46.

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Effective control of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has been challenging, in part due to significant asymptomatic and pre-symptomatic transmission of disease. Reducing the time between symptom onset and COVID-19 testing and isolation allows enhanced outbreak control. The purpose of this study is to describe the time taken by participants to present to general practitioner-led (GP) respiratory clinics for assessment following the development of symptoms, and to explore associations between demographic and geographic characteristics and the time to presentation. A total of 314,148 participants, who were assessed in GP respiratory clinics between 1 February and 31 August 2021, were included in the analysis. The median age of participants at presentation was 33 years (interquartile range, IQR: 15–49). The median time from development of symptoms to presentation for assessment at GP respiratory clinics was 2 days (IQR: 1–3). Participants were more likely to present within one day of symptom onset if they were aged between 15 and 64 years (43.4%), lived in urban areas (40.9%) or were non-Indigenous (40.2%). Participants in New South Wales and Victoria had twice the odds (OR 2.01; 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.95, 2.08) of presenting at a GP respiratory clinic within one day of symptom onset in August 2021, when there was a COVID-19 outbreak in those states, than they did in March 2021, when there was no COVID-19 outbreak in Australia. The number of days from symptom onset to presentation at a GP respiratory clinic was strongly associated with the presence of a COVID-19 outbreak. Participant age, location of the clinic, and Indigenous status of participants were also associated with the time to presentation. This study highlights the importance of recognising COVID-19 as a potential cause of symptoms, as well as the importance of providing easily accessible, and culturally appropriate, testing facilities for the population.

Item ID: 73642
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1445-4866
Keywords: COVID-19; Coronavirus disease 2019; SARS-CoV-2; respiratory symptoms; primary health care; public health response; testing; Australia
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Copyright Information: © 2022 Commonwealth of Australia as represented by the Department of Health. This publication is licensed under a Creative Commons AttributionNon-Commercial NoDerivatives 4.0 International Licence from https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/legalcode (Licence). You must read and understand the Licence before using any material from this publication.
Date Deposited: 28 Jun 2022 03:20
FoR Codes: 42 HEALTH SCIENCES > 4202 Epidemiology > 420204 Epidemiological methods @ 30%
32 BIOMEDICAL AND CLINICAL SCIENCES > 3202 Clinical sciences > 320211 Infectious diseases @ 30%
49 MATHEMATICAL SCIENCES > 4905 Statistics > 490502 Biostatistics @ 40%
SEO Codes: 20 HEALTH > 2002 Evaluation of health and support services > 200206 Health system performance (incl. effectiveness of programs) @ 30%
20 HEALTH > 2001 Clinical health > 200104 Prevention of human diseases and conditions @ 40%
20 HEALTH > 2003 Provision of health and support services > 200303 Health surveillance @ 30%
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