At the very beginning of the European spread of SARS-CoV-2, Piedmont was one of the most affected regions in Italy, with a strong impact on healthcare organizations. In this study, we evaluated the characteristics and outcomes of the COVID-19 patients in an entire region during the first three pandemic waves, identifying similarities and differences in the SARS-CoV-2 epidemic's timeline. We collected the health-administrative data of all the Piedmont COVID-19 patients infected during the first three pandemic waves (1 March 2020-15 April 2020; 15 October 2020-15 December 2020; 1 March 2021-15 April 2021, respectively). We compared differences among the waves in subjects positive for SARS-CoV-2 and in patients admitted to ICU. Overall, 18.621 subjects tested positive during the first wave (405 patients/day), 144.350 (2366.4 patients/day) in the second, and 81.823 (1778.8 patients/day) in the third. In the second and third waves, we observed a reduction in median age, comorbidity burden, mortality in outpatients, inpatients, and patients admitted to ICU, in intubation, invasive ventilation and tracheostomy, and a parallel increase in the use of CPAP. Our study confirmed a trend towards younger and healthier patients over time but also showed an independent effect of the period on mortality and ICU admission. The appearance of new viral variants, the starting of vaccination, and organizational improvements in tracking, outpatients and inpatients management could have influenced these trends.
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