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Admission Criteria for Suspected COVID-19 Patients in the Emergency Department

Most patients with COVID-19 have mild to moderate disease and do not require hospital care. The following are objective criteria which can be used to help aid in decision making regarding whether a patient with suspected COVID-19 infection requires inpatient care:

  1. CURB 65 score > 2 or Pneumonia Severity Index score of >90 indicate likely benefit from hospital stabilization.  Both are available on mdcalc.com for rapid calculation. 
  2. Any patient with a RR>24 with an oxygen saturation less than 93% on their baseline oxygenation (normally room air, unless on chronic home O2) should also be considered for admission.
  3. Patients in obvious distress should also be considered for admission.

Ultimately, provider determination of the overall well-being of the patient must be taken into consideration.  As more evidence is accumulated, these guidelines will be fine-tuned.

March 26, 2020