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J Glob Health ; 11: 05022, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1478403


BACKGROUND: This study sought to determine the presence of SARS-CoV-2 virus on surfaces that trainees and faculty of an academic eye clinic came into contact with during daily life at the time of the COVID-19 pandemic in New York City. METHODS: This cross-sectional analysis involved collection of at least two samples by teams on four different days (November 9, 2020 - December 18, 2020) using sterile swabs (Puritan HydraFlock, Garden Grove, CA). Collection sites were grouped into four zones depending on proximity and amount of time personnel spent there. Samples were transported to the laboratory in transport medium and RNA was extracted using the QIAamp DSP Viral RNA Mini Kit (Qiagen, Germantown, MD). Presence of viral RNA was investigated using the Luna Universal Probe One-step RT-qPCR kit (New England Biolabs, Ipwsich, MA). RESULTS: 834 samples were submitted. Two were positive for SARS-CoV-2 RNA. The first was a sample from a patient bathroom sink handle in the main emergency department. The second was a nasal swab sample from a staff member who had been assigned to collect samples. Prior to this positive result, this asymptomatic staff member had tested positive for COVID-19, had quarantined for two weeks, and had received a negative test. CONCLUSION: Though COVID-19 is currently widespread in the United States, this study shows that health care personnel working in New York City at the Columbia University Irving Medical Center have a low chance of encountering viral RNA on surfaces they are in close contact with during daily life.

COVID-19 , RNA, Viral , Cross-Sectional Studies , Humans , New York City/epidemiology , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2
J Glaucoma ; 30(8): 750-757, 2021 08 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1358504


PURPOSE: The temporary cessation and profound changes in ophthalmic care delivery that occurred as a result of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic have yet to be fully understood. Our objective is to assess patients' self-reported impact of health care lockdown measures on their fears and anxieties during the crisis period of the COVID-19 pandemic in New York City. METHODS: We conducted a digital, self-reported, patient care survey distributed by an e-mail at Columbia University's Department of Ophthalmology outpatient faculty practice. Inclusion criteria were age greater than or equal to 18 years, a diagnosis of either retinal disease or glaucoma, and a canceled or rescheduled ophthalmology established patient appointment during the acute phase of the COVID-19 pandemic in New York City. Patients without an e-mail address listed in their electronic medical records were excluded. The survey occurred between March 2, 2020, to May 30, 2020. Primary measures were survey responses to assess key areas of patient anxiety or concern during the pandemic including the safety of care delivery in a COVID pandemic, difficulties contacting or being seen by their ophthalmologist, concern of vision loss or disease progression, and concern over missed or access to treatments. Secondary measures were correlating survey response to factors such as visual acuity, intraocular pressure, diagnosis, disease severity, follow-up urgency, recent treatments, and diagnostic testing data. RESULTS: Of the 2594 surveys sent out, 510 (19.66%) were completed. Over 95% of patients were at least as concerned as in normal circumstances about their ocular health during the peak of the pandemic. Overall, 76% of respondents were more concerned than normal that they could not be seen by their ophthalmologist soon enough. Increased concern over ocular health, disease progression, and access to care all showed positive correlations (P<0.05) with worse disease severity as measured with testing such as visual fields and optical coherence tomography. In addition, 55% of patients were afraid of contracting COVID-19 during an office visit. CONCLUSION AND RELEVANCE: We found a majority of our patients were concerned about limitations in access to ophthalmic care and were fearful of disease progression. In addition, we found a number of demographic and clinical factors that correlated with increased anxiety in our patients.

COVID-19 , Glaucoma , Communicable Disease Control , Humans , Intraocular Pressure , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2
JAMA Ophthalmol ; 139(4): 456-463, 2021 04 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1116915


Importance: The American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) indicated that urgent or emergent vitreoretinal surgical procedures should continue during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. Although decreases in the frequency of critical procedures have been reported outside the field of ophthalmology, analyses are limited by volume, geography, and time. Objective: To evaluate whether the frequency of ophthalmic surgical procedures deemed urgent or emergent by the AAO changed across the United States during the COVID-19 pandemic. Design, Setting, and Participants: Vitreoretinal practices from 17 institutions throughout the US participated in this multicenter cross-sectional study. The frequency of 11 billed vitreoretinal Current Procedural Terminology (CPT) codes across respective weeks was obtained from each practice between January 1, 2019, and May 31, 2020. Data were clustered into intravitreal injections (code 67028), lasers and cryotherapy (codes 67141, 67145, and 67228), retinal detachment (RD) repairs (codes 67107, 67108, 67110, and 67113), and other vitrectomies (codes 67036, 67039, and 67040). Institutions were categorized by region (Northeast, Midwest, South, and West Coast), practice setting (academic [tax-exempt] or private [non-tax-exempt]), and date of respective statewide stay-at-home orders. Main Outcomes and Measures: Nationwide changes in the frequency of billing for urgent or emergent vitreoretinal surgical procedures during the COVID-19 pandemic. Results: A total of 526 536 CPT codes were ascertained: 483 313 injections, 19 257 lasers or cryotherapy, 14 949 RD repairs, and 9017 other vitrectomies. Relative to 2019, a weekly institutional decrease in injections was observed from March 30 to May 2, 2020, with a maximal 38.6% decrease (from a mean [SD] of 437.8 [436.3] to 273.8 [269.0] injections) from April 6 to 12, 2020 (95% CI, -259 to -69 injections; P = .002). A weekly decrease was also identified that spanned a longer interval, at least until study conclusion (March 16 to May 31, 2020), for lasers and cryotherapy, with a maximal 79.6% decrease (from a mean [SD] of 6.6 [7.7] to 1.5 [2.0] procedures) from April 6 to 12, 2020 (95% CI, -6.8 to -3.3 procedures; P < .001), for RD repairs, with a maximal 59.4% decrease (from a mean [SD] of 3.5 [4.0] to 1.6 [2.2] repairs) from April 13 to 19, 2020 (95% CI, -2.7 to -1.4 repairs; P < .001), and for other vitrectomies, with a maximal 84.3% decrease (from a mean [SD] of 3.0 [3.1] to 0.4 [0.8] other vitrectomies) from April 6 to 12, 2020 (95% CI, -3.3 to -1.8 other vitrectomies; P < .001). No differences were identified by region, setting, or state-level stay-at-home order adjustment. Conclusions and Relevance: Although the AAO endorsed the continued performance of urgent or emergent vitreoretinal surgical procedures, the frequency of such procedures throughout the country experienced a substantial decrease that may persist after the COVID-19 pandemic's initial exponential growth phase. This decrease appears independent of region, setting, and state-level stay-at-home orders. It is unknown to what extent vitreoretinal intervention would have decreased without AAO recommendations, and how the decrease is associated with outcomes. Although safety is paramount during the COVID-19 pandemic, practices should consider prioritizing availability for managing high-acuity conditions until underlying reasons for the reduction are fully appreciated.

COVID-19/epidemiology , SARS-CoV-2 , Vitreoretinal Surgery/statistics & numerical data , Cross-Sectional Studies , Emergency Medical Services , Humans , Vitrectomy/statistics & numerical data