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ICU COVID-19 admissions more likely in men

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Men with suspected COVID-19 symptoms are twice as likely to be admitted to an intensive care unit in Australia than women for treatment, a new study has found.

The Monash University study that collated data from 33 ICUs nationally reveals men are twice as likely to be admitted (67 per cent of cases) than women (31 per cent), while people over 60 make up 69 per cent of ICU patients.

The study - which is still underway - states 149 people have been admitted to an ICU across Australia since March 14 with coronavirus symptoms.

Of those, 85 were confirmed to have COVID-19, 18 were suspected cases but returned a negative test, and 46 are still awaiting results.

The data also shows 41 per cent of patients admitted to ICU are in the 70 to 79-year-old age group.

Patients with conditions such as diabetes, chronic cardiac disease and obesity were much more likely to be admitted.

Monash University's Professor Andrew Udy says the data is providing important insights into the type of therapy, care, and medical intervention given to the nation's sickest COVID-19 patients.

"It means we can inform clinicians and improve the therapies provided, as well as appraise resourcing, particularly if we experience a sudden spike in cases over the coming months," Prof Udy said in a statement on Thursday.

"We've never seen this infectious disease before and, as a consequence, a lot of the traditional ways that we manage a patient are being challenged."

The study also found the most common symptoms at the time of admission to hospital included fever, cough, shortness of breath, fatigue and diarrhoea.

Australia has reported almost 7000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 to date with 98 deaths.

© AAP 2020