At the height of the coronavirus pandemic, the number of patients seeking treatment at Ballarat Hospital's emergency department was 25 per cent lower then usual.
But while the patient numbers were much lower, the amount of people presenting with acute upper respiratory infections was much higher than usual.
BHS director of acute operations Ben Kelly said during April 2020 there were a quarter less patients seeking treatment compared to April 2019, with numbers continuing to be much lower in May.
Mr Kelly said that March, at the start of the pandemic, was a month of two halves.
"Our emergency department had a busy start to March, however there was a significant drop in presentations following the outbreak of COVID-19," he said.
But over the three months from March to the end of May and the easing of social distancing restrictions, hospital staff had dealt with more than double the number of people with social or psychological problems.
"It makes sense given the stress of people who are a little more vulnerable to this," he said. "We know that restrictions, while the right thing to do, increased that social isolation so while cases wouldn't be at the higher end of acuity, the frequency of them is what has been increasing," he said.
"Across the state we've seen less contact with area mental health services and that's been the same for us."
Mr Kelly said the first weeks of June had seen a return to more regular patient numbers and the start of the "winter demand" of colds and flu.
Unlike other health services across Victoria, Mr Kelly said BHS had still seen similar numbers of patients with serious medical conditions such as heart attacks throughout the pandemic.
"We haven't seen any real variability in cardiac type presentations. There hasn't been a large increase or decrease but we have seen less of those patients with less acute or complex things like nausea, vomiting and sprains."
IN OTHER NEWS
A study by Monash University Accident Research Centre found presentations to emergency departments across the state were much reduced during March 2020, but the numbers of people visiting casualty for respiratory and virus-related illnesses almost quadrupled.
But presentations for other illness categories dropped, including those for potentially life-threatening conditions including heart attacks, angina, stroke, appendicitis.
And with the increase in people taking up cycling during lockdown, hospitals across the state saw an increase in cyclist injuries and a corresponding decrease in injuries from motor vehicles.
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