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1.
Science ; 371(6529)2021 02 05.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1388436

ABSTRACT

Analysis of 772 complete severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) genomes from early in the Boston-area epidemic revealed numerous introductions of the virus, a small number of which led to most cases. The data revealed two superspreading events. One, in a skilled nursing facility, led to rapid transmission and significant mortality in this vulnerable population but little broader spread, whereas other introductions into the facility had little effect. The second, at an international business conference, produced sustained community transmission and was exported, resulting in extensive regional, national, and international spread. The two events also differed substantially in the genetic variation they generated, suggesting varying transmission dynamics in superspreading events. Our results show how genomic epidemiology can help to understand the link between individual clusters and wider community spread.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/epidemiology , Genome, Viral , Phylogeny , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Boston/epidemiology , COVID-19/transmission , Disease Outbreaks , Epidemiological Monitoring , Humans
2.
MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep ; 69(17): 521-522, 2020 May 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1389843

ABSTRACT

In the United States, approximately 1.4 million persons access emergency shelter or transitional housing each year (1). These settings can pose risks for communicable disease spread. In late March and early April 2020, public health teams responded to clusters (two or more cases in the preceding 2 weeks) of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in residents and staff members from five homeless shelters in Boston, Massachusetts (one shelter); San Francisco, California (one); and Seattle, Washington (three). The investigations were performed in coordination with academic partners, health care providers, and homeless service providers. Investigations included reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction testing at commercial and public health laboratories for SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, over approximately 1-2 weeks for residents and staff members at the five shelters. During the same period, the team in Seattle, Washington, also tested residents and staff members at 12 shelters where a single case in each had been identified. In Atlanta, Georgia, a team proactively tested residents and staff members at two shelters with no known COVID-19 cases in the preceding 2 weeks. In each city, the objective was to test all shelter residents and staff members at each assessed facility, irrespective of symptoms. Persons who tested positive were transported to hospitals or predesignated community isolation areas.


Subject(s)
Betacoronavirus , Coronavirus Infections/epidemiology , Homeless Persons/statistics & numerical data , Housing/statistics & numerical data , Pneumonia, Viral/epidemiology , Boston/epidemiology , COVID-19 , Cities , Georgia/epidemiology , Humans , Pandemics , Prevalence , SARS-CoV-2 , San Francisco/epidemiology , Washington/epidemiology
3.
Lancet Public Health ; 6(4): e193-e194, 2021 04.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1199203
4.
JAMA Netw Open ; 3(12): e2028195, 2020 12 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-985881

ABSTRACT

Importance: Approximately 356 000 people stay in homeless shelters nightly in the United States. They have high risk of contracting coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). Objective: To assess the estimated clinical outcomes, costs, and cost-effectiveness associated with strategies for COVID-19 management among adults experiencing sheltered homelessness. Design, Setting, and Participants: This decision analytic model used a simulated cohort of 2258 adults residing in homeless shelters in Boston, Massachusetts. Cohort characteristics and costs were adapted from Boston Health Care for the Homeless Program. Disease progression, transmission, and outcomes data were taken from published literature and national databases. Surging, growing, and slowing epidemics (effective reproduction numbers [Re], 2.6, 1.3, and 0.9, respectively) were examined. Costs were from a health care sector perspective, and the time horizon was 4 months, from April to August 2020. Exposures: Daily symptom screening with polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing of individuals with positive symptom screening results, universal PCR testing every 2 weeks, hospital-based COVID-19 care, alternative care sites (ACSs) for mild or moderate COVID-19, and temporary housing were each compared with no intervention. Main Outcomes and Measures: Cumulative infections and hospital-days, costs to the health care sector (US dollars), and cost-effectiveness, as incremental cost per case of COVID-19 prevented. Results: The simulated population of 2258 sheltered homeless adults had a mean (SD) age of 42.6 (9.04) years. Compared with no intervention, daily symptom screening with ACSs for pending tests or confirmed COVID-19 and mild or moderate disease was associated with 37% fewer infections (1954 vs 1239) and 46% lower costs ($6.10 million vs $3.27 million) at an Re of 2.6, 75% fewer infections (538 vs 137) and 72% lower costs ($1.46 million vs $0.41 million) at an Re of 1.3, and 51% fewer infections (174 vs 85) and 51% lower costs ($0.54 million vs $0.26 million) at an Re of 0.9. Adding PCR testing every 2 weeks was associated with a further decrease in infections; incremental cost per case prevented was $1000 at an Re of 2.6, $27 000 at an Re of 1.3, and $71 000 at an Re of 0.9. Temporary housing with PCR every 2 weeks was most effective but substantially more expensive than other options. Compared with no intervention, temporary housing with PCR every 2 weeks was associated with 81% fewer infections (376) and 542% higher costs ($39.12 million) at an Re of 2.6, 82% fewer infections (95) and 2568% higher costs ($38.97 million) at an Re of 1.3, and 59% fewer infections (71) and 7114% higher costs ($38.94 million) at an Re of 0.9. Results were sensitive to cost and sensitivity of PCR and ACS efficacy in preventing transmission. Conclusions and Relevance: In this modeling study of simulated adults living in homeless shelters, daily symptom screening and ACSs were associated with fewer severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infections and decreased costs compared with no intervention. In a modeled surging epidemic, adding universal PCR testing every 2 weeks was associated with further decrease in SARS-CoV-2 infections at modest incremental cost and should be considered during future surges.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/prevention & control , Communicable Disease Control/methods , Health Care Costs , Homeless Persons , Hospitalization/economics , Housing/economics , Mass Screening/methods , COVID-19/economics , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/transmission , COVID-19 Nucleic Acid Testing/economics , COVID-19 Nucleic Acid Testing/methods , Cohort Studies , Communicable Disease Control/economics , Computer Simulation , Cost-Benefit Analysis , Decision Support Techniques , Humans , Mass Screening/economics , SARS-CoV-2 , Symptom Assessment/economics , Symptom Assessment/methods , United States/epidemiology
5.
medRxiv ; 2020 Oct 20.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-900747

ABSTRACT

IMPORTANCE: Approximately 356,000 people stay in homeless shelters nightly in the US. They are at high risk for COVID-19. OBJECTIVE: To assess clinical outcomes, costs, and cost-effectiveness of strategies for COVID-19 management among sheltered homeless adults. DESIGN: We developed a dynamic microsimulation model of COVID-19 in sheltered homeless adults in Boston, Massachusetts. We used cohort characteristics and costs from Boston Health Care for the Homeless Program. Disease progression, transmission, and outcomes data were from published literature and national databases. We examined surging, growing, and slowing epidemics (effective reproduction numbers [Re] 2.6, 1.3, and 0.9). Costs were from a health care sector perspective; time horizon was 4 months, from April to August 2020. SETTING & PARTICIPANTS: Simulated cohort of 2,258 adults residing in homeless shelters in Boston. INTERVENTIONS: We assessed daily symptom screening with polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing of screen-positives, universal PCR testing every 2 weeks, hospital-based COVID-19 care, alternate care sites [ACSs] for mild/moderate COVID-19, and temporary housing, each compared to no intervention. MAIN OUTCOMES AND MEASURES: Cumulative infections and hospital-days, costs to the health care sector (US dollars), and cost-effectiveness, as incremental cost per case prevented of COVID-19. RESULTS: We simulated a population of 2,258 sheltered homeless adults with mean age of 42.6 years. Compared to no intervention, daily symptom screening with ACSs for pending tests or confirmed COVID-19 and mild/moderate disease led to 37% fewer infections and 46% lower costs (Re=2.6), 75% fewer infections and 72% lower costs (Re=1.3), and 51% fewer infections and 51% lower costs (Re=0.9). Adding PCR testing every 2 weeks further decreased infections; incremental cost per case prevented was $1,000 (Re=2.6), $27,000 (Re=1.3), and $71,000 (Re=0.9). Temporary housing with PCR every 2 weeks was most effective but substantially more costly than other options. Results were sensitive to cost and sensitivity of PCR and ACS efficacy in preventing transmission. CONCLUSIONS & RELEVANCE: In this modeling study of simulated adults living in homeless shelters, daily symptom screening and ACSs were associated with fewer COVID-19 infections and decreased costs compared with no intervention. In a modeled surging epidemic, adding universal PCR testing every 2 weeks was associated with further decrease in COVID-19 infections at modest incremental cost and should be considered during future surges.

6.
Public Health Rep ; 135(4): 435-441, 2020.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-591395

ABSTRACT

People experiencing homelessness are at high risk for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). In March 2020, Boston Health Care for the Homeless Program, in partnership with city and state public health agencies, municipal leaders, and homeless service providers, developed and implemented a citywide COVID-19 care model for this vulnerable population. Components included symptom screening at shelter front doors, expedited testing at pop-up sites, isolation and management venues for symptomatic people under investigation and for people with confirmed disease, quarantine venues for asymptomatic exposed people, and contact investigation and tracing. Real-time disease surveillance efforts in a large shelter outbreak of COVID-19 during the third week of operations illustrated the need for several adaptations to the care model to better respond to the local epidemiology of illness among people experiencing homelessness. Symptom screening was de-emphasized given the high number of asymptomatic or minimally symptomatic infections discovered during mass testing; contact tracing and quarantining were phased out under the assumption of universal exposure among the sheltered population; and isolation and management venues were rapidly expanded to accommodate a surge in people with newly diagnosed COVID-19. During the first 6 weeks of operation, 429 of 1297 (33.1%) tested people were positive for COVID-19; of these, 395 people were experiencing homelessness at the time of testing, representing about 10% of the homeless adult population in Boston. Universal testing, as resources permit, is a focal point of ongoing efforts to mitigate the effect of COVID-19 on this vulnerable group of people.


Subject(s)
Betacoronavirus , Coronavirus Infections , Homeless Persons , Pandemics , Pneumonia, Viral , Population Surveillance/methods , Public Health Practice , Adult , Betacoronavirus/genetics , Betacoronavirus/isolation & purification , Boston/epidemiology , COVID-19 , COVID-19 Testing , Clinical Laboratory Techniques , Communicable Diseases, Emerging/prevention & control , Contact Tracing , Coronavirus Infections/diagnosis , Coronavirus Infections/epidemiology , Coronavirus Infections/prevention & control , Coronavirus Infections/therapy , Disease Transmission, Infectious/prevention & control , Humans , Mobile Health Units , Pandemics/prevention & control , Pneumonia, Viral/diagnosis , Pneumonia, Viral/epidemiology , Pneumonia, Viral/prevention & control , Pneumonia, Viral/therapy , Polymerase Chain Reaction , Quarantine , SARS-CoV-2
7.
Psychiatr Serv ; 71(10): 1078-1081, 2020 10 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-505880

ABSTRACT

People with serious mental illness are at disproportionate risk of COVID-19 morbidity and mortality because of high rates of risk factors that directly parallel those related to poor coronavirus outcomes, including smoking, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes, along with housing instability, homelessness, food insecurity, and poverty. Community-based behavioral health organizations are also at risk of adverse outcomes because of dramatic declines in revenues and a diminished workforce. The State of Massachusetts has responded to this crisis by rapidly implementing a variety of policy, regulatory, and payment reforms. This column describes some of these reforms, which are designed to enhance remote telehealth delivery of care, ensure access to needed medications and residential care staff, and support the financial livelihood of community-based behavioral health services.


Subject(s)
Betacoronavirus , Community Health Services/legislation & jurisprudence , Community Health Services/methods , Coronavirus Infections/therapy , Health Policy/legislation & jurisprudence , Health Services Accessibility/legislation & jurisprudence , Mental Disorders/therapy , Pneumonia, Viral/therapy , COVID-19 , Coronavirus Infections/complications , Humans , Massachusetts , Mental Disorders/complications , Pandemics , Pneumonia, Viral/complications , SARS-CoV-2
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