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Palliative Medicine ; 35(1 SUPPL):35, 2021.
Article in English | EMBASE | ID: covidwho-1477102


Background: The COVID-19 pandemic has led to excess mortality globally. Understanding change in place of death during the pandemic is needed to help guide resource allocation and support for end-of-life care. Aims: To analyse the patterns of mortality and place of death in UK (England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland) during the COVID-19 pandemic. Methods: Descriptive analysis of UK mortality data between March 2020 and February 2021. The weekly number of deaths in each nation was described by place of death using the following definitions: (1) Average deaths estimated using five years of historical data (2015-19);(2) Baseline deaths up to and including expected deaths but excluding COVID-19 deaths;(3) Deaths where COVID-19 is mentioned on the death certificate;(3) Additional deaths not attributed to COVID-19. Results: During the analysis period, there were 743,172 deaths in the UK, of which 135,716 were COVID-19 related and 17,672 were additional non-COVID deaths. There was variation in mortality between the UK nations with Wales having the highest rate of COVID-19 deaths at 229 per 100,000 population and Northern Ireland the lowest at 141 per 100,000 population. Deaths in care homes increased above baseline levels during the first and second waves of the pandemic but fell below baseline between waves, increasing the most in Wales by 29%. Hospital deaths increased overall by as much as 13% in England but fell by 1% in Scotland. Deaths at home remained above average throughout the study period with an overall increase of between 40-41%. In England and Wales, 15-30% fewer people died in hospices compared to baseline. Discussion: The COVID-19 pandemic has changed where people die in the UK. Notably a sustained increase in deaths at home has been seen, with implications for planning and organisation of palliative care and community services. Examination of place of death in other countries with high COVID-19 mortality is recommended.

Infect Prev Pract ; 2(3): 100073, 2020 Sep.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-624920


BACKGROUND: Transmission in healthcare settings can result in significant infections in healthcare workers and patients. Understanding infection dynamics has important implications for methods employed in hospitals to prevent nosocomial transmission events. METHODS: In this case series report we describe a cluster of COVID-19 (Coronavirus disease 2019) in a tertiary care university hospital, in the early phases of the epidemic, after hospital visiting had been stopped and when the UK lockdown was in place. FINDINGS: A 48 year old patient developed COVID-19 31 days post-admission and four days after admission to a medical ward from ITU. Infection was likely acquired from an asymptomatic or minimally symptomatic healthcare worker (HCW). Subsequent investigation over a 14 day period revealed symptoms in 23 staff members and five linked cases in patients on the same ward.Nine of the 23 affected staff members provided care for and had direct exposure with the index case. Four staff reported caring for the index case without use of personal protective equipment. One was coughed on directly by the patient 24 hours prior to the onset of symptoms. CONCLUSION: SARS CoV2 infection can be introduced to a ward area by asymptomatic and minimally symptomatic healthcare workers. Staff members and patients can act as Trojan horses carrying infection into and around the hospital, setting up unexpected transmission events.Transmission of infection from pre-symptomatic, asymptomatic and minimally symptomatic individuals means that universal use of measures to prevent transmission is required for successful reduction of transmission events in the hospital setting.