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1.
Pediatrics ; 2022 Aug 04.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1974397

ABSTRACT

OBJECTIVE: Globally, COVID-19 has affected how children learn. We evaluated the impact of Test to Stay (TTS) on secondary and tertiary transmission of SARS-CoV-2 and potential impact on in-person learning in four school districts in the United States from September 13-November 19, 2021. METHODS: Implementation of TTS varied across school districts. Data on index cases, school-based close contacts, TTS participation, and testing results were obtained from four school districts in diverse geographic regions. Descriptive statistics, secondary and tertiary attack risk, and a theoretical estimate of impact on in-person learning were calculated. RESULTS: Fifty-one schools in four school districts reported 374 COVID-19 index cases and 2,520 school-based close contacts eligible for TTS. The proportion participating in TTS ranged from 22%-79%. By district, the secondary attack risk (SAR) and tertiary attack risk (TAR) among TTS participants ranged between 2.2%-11.1% and 0%-17.6%, respectively. Nine clusters were identified among secondary cases and two among tertiary cases. The theoretical maximum number of days of in-person learning saved by using TTS was 976-4,650 days across jurisdictions. CONCLUSIONS: TTS preserves in-person learning days. Decisions to participate in TTS may have been influenced by ease of access to testing, communication between schools and families, testing logistics, and school resources. TAR determination became more complicated when numbers of close contacts increased. Minimizing exposure through continued implementation of layered prevention strategies is imperative. To ensure adequate resources for implementation of TTS, community transmission levels should be considered.

2.
Public Health Rep ; 137(5): 972-979, 2022.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1938148

ABSTRACT

OBJECTIVES: Classroom layout plays a central role in maintaining physical distancing as part of a multicomponent prevention strategy for safe in-person learning during the COVID-19 pandemic. We conducted a school investigation to assess layouts and physical distancing in classroom settings with and without in-school SARS-CoV-2 transmission. METHODS: We assessed, measured, and mapped 90 K-12 (kindergarten through grade 12) classrooms in 3 Missouri public school districts during January-March 2021, prior to widespread prevalence of the Delta variant; distances between students, teachers, and people with COVID-19 and their contacts were analyzed. We used whole-genome sequencing to further evaluate potential transmission events. RESULTS: The investigation evaluated the classrooms of 34 students and staff members who were potentially infectious with COVID-19 in a classroom. Of 42 close contacts (15 tested) who sat within 3 ft of possibly infectious people, 1 (2%) probable transmission event occurred (from a symptomatic student with a longer exposure period [5 days]); of 122 contacts (23 tested) who sat more than 3 ft away from possibly infectious people with shorter exposure periods, no transmission events occurred. CONCLUSIONS: Reduced student physical distancing is one component of mitigation strategies that can allow for increased classroom capacity and support in-person learning. In the pre-Delta variant period, limited physical distancing (<6 ft) among students in K-12 schools was not associated with increased SARS-CoV-2 transmission.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/prevention & control , Humans , Missouri/epidemiology , Pandemics/prevention & control , Schools
4.
MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep ; 71(10): 384-389, 2022 Mar 11.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1737449

ABSTRACT

Masks are effective at limiting transmission of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19 (1), but the impact of policies requiring masks in school settings has not been widely evaluated (2-4). During fall 2021, some school districts in Arkansas implemented policies requiring masks for students in kindergarten through grade 12 (K-12). To identify any association between mask policies and COVID-19 incidence, weekly school-associated COVID-19 incidence in school districts with full or partial mask requirements was compared with incidence in districts without mask requirements during August 23-October 16, 2021. Three analyses were performed: 1) incidence rate ratios (IRRs) were calculated comparing districts with full mask requirements (universal mask requirement for all students and staff members) or partial mask requirements (e.g., masks required in certain settings, among certain populations, or if specific criteria could not be met) with school districts with no mask requirement; 2) ratios of observed-to-expected numbers of cases, by district were calculated; and 3) incidence in districts that switched from no mask requirement to any mask requirement were compared before and after implementation of the mask policy. Mean weekly district-level attack rates were 92-359 per 100,000 persons in the community* and 137-745 per 100,000 among students and staff members; mean student and staff member vaccination coverage ranged from 13.5% to 18.6%. Multivariable adjusted IRRs, which included adjustment for vaccination coverage, indicated that districts with full mask requirements had 23% lower COVID-19 incidence among students and staff members compared with school districts with no mask requirements. Observed-to-expected ratios for full and partial mask policies were lower than ratios for districts with no mask policy but were slightly higher for districts with partial policies than for those with full mask policies. Among districts that switched from no mask requirement to any mask requirement (full or partial), incidence among students and staff members decreased by 479.7 per 100,000 (p<0.01) upon implementation of the mask policy. In areas with high COVID-19 community levels, masks are an important part of a multicomponent prevention strategy in K-12 settings (5).


Subject(s)
COVID-19/prevention & control , Health Policy , Masks , Schools , Arkansas/epidemiology , COVID-19/epidemiology , Humans , Incidence , SARS-CoV-2
5.
JAMA Netw Open ; 4(6): e2115850, 2021 06 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1251884

ABSTRACT

Importance: Contact tracing is a multistep process to limit SARS-CoV-2 transmission. Gaps in the process result in missed opportunities to prevent COVID-19. Objective: To quantify proportions of cases and their contacts reached by public health authorities and the amount of time needed to reach them and to compare the risk of a positive COVID-19 test result between contacts and the general public during 4-week assessment periods. Design, Setting, and Participants: This cross-sectional study took place at 13 health departments and 1 Indian Health Service Unit in 11 states and 1 tribal nation. Participants included all individuals with laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 and their named contacts. Local COVID-19 surveillance data were used to determine the numbers of persons reported to have laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 who were interviewed and named contacts between June and October 2020. Main Outcomes and Measures: For contacts, the numbers who were identified, notified of their exposure, and agreed to monitoring were calculated. The median time from index case specimen collection to contact notification was calculated, as were numbers of named contacts subsequently notified of their exposure and monitored. The prevalence of a positive SARS-CoV-2 test among named and tested contacts was compared with that jurisdiction's general population during the same 4 weeks. Results: The total number of cases reported was 74 185. Of these, 43 931 (59%) were interviewed, and 24 705 (33%) named any contacts. Among the 74 839 named contacts, 53 314 (71%) were notified of their exposure, and 34 345 (46%) agreed to monitoring. A mean of 0.7 contacts were reached by telephone by public health authorities, and only 0.5 contacts per case were monitored. In general, health departments reporting large case counts during the assessment (≥5000) conducted smaller proportions of case interviews and contact notifications. In 9 locations, the median time from specimen collection to contact notification was 6 days or less. In 6 of 8 locations with population comparison data, positive test prevalence was higher among named contacts than the general population. Conclusions and Relevance: In this cross-sectional study of US local COVID-19 surveillance data, testing named contacts was a high-yield activity for case finding. However, this assessment suggests that contact tracing had suboptimal impact on SARS-CoV-2 transmission, largely because 2 of 3 cases were either not reached for interview or named no contacts when interviewed. These findings are relevant to decisions regarding the allocation of public health resources among the various prevention strategies and for the prioritization of case investigations and contact tracing efforts.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/prevention & control , Contact Tracing , Public Health , COVID-19/complications , COVID-19/diagnosis , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19 Testing , Contact Tracing/statistics & numerical data , Cost-Benefit Analysis , Cross-Sectional Studies , Disclosure/statistics & numerical data , Health Services, Indigenous , Humans , Incidence , Prevalence , SARS-CoV-2 , Telephone , United States/epidemiology
6.
MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep ; 69(39): 1416-1418, 2020 Oct 02.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-809621

ABSTRACT

Preventing transmission of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), in institutes of higher education presents a unique set of challenges because of the presence of congregate living settings and difficulty limiting socialization and group gatherings. Before August 2020, minimal data were available regarding COVID-19 outbreaks in these settings. On August 3, 2020, university A in North Carolina broadly opened campus for the first time since transitioning to primarily remote learning in March. Consistent with CDC guidance at that time (1,2), steps were taken to prevent the spread of SARS-CoV-2 on campus. During August 3-25, 670 laboratory-confirmed cases of COVID-19 were identified; 96% were among patients aged <22 years. Eighteen clusters of five or more epidemiologically linked cases within 14 days of one another were reported; 30% of cases were linked to a cluster. Student gatherings and congregate living settings, both on and off campus, likely contributed to the rapid spread of COVID-19 within the university community. On August 19, all university A classes transitioned to online, and additional mitigation efforts were implemented. At this point, 334 university A-associated COVID-19 cases had been reported to the local health department. The rapid increase in cases within 2 weeks of opening campus suggests that robust measures are needed to reduce transmission at institutes of higher education, including efforts to increase consistent use of masks, reduce the density of on-campus housing, increase testing for SARS-CoV-2, and discourage student gatherings.


Subject(s)
Coronavirus Infections/epidemiology , Disease Outbreaks , Pneumonia, Viral/epidemiology , Universities , Adolescent , Adult , COVID-19 , Coronavirus Infections/transmission , Female , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , North Carolina/epidemiology , Pandemics , Pneumonia, Viral/transmission , Residence Characteristics , Social Behavior , Students/psychology , Students/statistics & numerical data , Young Adult
7.
MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep ; 69(38): 1360-1363, 2020 Sep 25.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-792612

ABSTRACT

Contact tracing is a strategy implemented to minimize the spread of communicable diseases (1,2). Prompt contact tracing, testing, and self-quarantine can reduce the transmission of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) (3,4). Community engagement is important to encourage participation in and cooperation with SARS-CoV-2 contact tracing (5). Substantial investments have been made to scale up contact tracing for COVID-19 in the United States. During June 1-July 12, 2020, the incidence of COVID-19 cases in North Carolina increased 183%, from seven to 19 per 100,000 persons per day* (6). To assess local COVID-19 contact tracing implementation, data from two counties in North Carolina were analyzed during a period of high incidence. Health department staff members investigated 5,514 (77%) persons with COVID-19 in Mecklenburg County and 584 (99%) in Randolph Counties. No contacts were reported for 48% of cases in Mecklenburg and for 35% in Randolph. Among contacts provided, 25% in Mecklenburg and 48% in Randolph could not be reached by telephone and were classified as nonresponsive after at least one attempt on 3 consecutive days of failed attempts. The median interval from specimen collection from the index patient to notification of identified contacts was 6 days in both counties. Despite aggressive efforts by health department staff members to perform case investigations and contact tracing, many persons with COVID-19 did not report contacts, and many contacts were not reached. These findings indicate that improved timeliness of contact tracing, community engagement, and increased use of community-wide mitigation are needed to interrupt SARS-CoV-2 transmission.


Subject(s)
Contact Tracing/statistics & numerical data , Coronavirus Infections/epidemiology , Coronavirus Infections/prevention & control , Pandemics/prevention & control , Pneumonia, Viral/epidemiology , Pneumonia, Viral/prevention & control , COVID-19 , Humans , Incidence , North Carolina/epidemiology
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