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Am J Infect Control ; 49(6): 685-689, 2021 06.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1279522


OBJECTIVES: Since December 2019, COVID-19 has caused a worldwide pandemic and Singapore has seen escalating cases with community spread. Aggressive contact tracing and identification of suspects has helped to identify local community clusters, surveillance being the key to early intervention. Healthcare workers (HCWs) have contracted COVID-19 infection both at the workplace and community. We aimed to create a prototype staff surveillance system for the detection of acute respiratory infection (ARI) clusters amongst our HCWs and describe its effectiveness. METHODS: A prototypical surveillance system was built on existing electronic health record infrastructure. RESULTS: Over a 10-week period, we investigated 10 ARI clusters amongst 7 departments. One of the ARI clusters was later determined to be related to COVID-19 infection. We demonstrate the feasibility of syndromic surveillance to detect ARI clusters during the COVID-19 outbreak. CONCLUSION: The use of syndromic surveillance to detect ARI clusters amongst HCWs in the COVID-19 pandemic may enable early case detection and prevent onward transmission. It could be an important tool in infection prevention within healthcare institutions.

COVID-19 , Pandemics , Disease Outbreaks , Electronic Health Records , Health Personnel , Humans , SARS-CoV-2 , Sentinel Surveillance , Singapore/epidemiology
Infect Control Hosp Epidemiol ; 41(7): 765-771, 2020 07.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-622776


OBJECTIVE: Staff surveillance is crucial during the containment phase of a pandemic to help reduce potential healthcare-associated transmission and sustain good staff morale. During an outbreak of SARS-COV-2 with community transmission, our institution used an integrated strategy for early detection and containment of COVID-19 cases among healthcare workers (HCWs). METHODS: Our strategy comprised 3 key components: (1) enforcing reporting of HCWs with acute respiratory illness (ARI) to our institution's staff clinic for monitoring; (2) conducting ongoing syndromic surveillance to obtain early warning of potential clusters of COVID-19; and (3) outbreak investigation and management. RESULTS: Over a 16-week surveillance period, we detected 14 cases of COVID-19 among HCWs with ARI symptoms. Two of the cases were linked epidemiologically and thus constituted a COVID-19 cluster with intrahospital HCW-HCW transmission; we also detected 1 family cluster and 2 clusters among HCWs who shared accommodation. No transmission to HCWs or patients was detected after containment measures were instituted. Early detection minimized the number of HCWs requiring quarantine, hence preserving continuity of service during an ongoing pandemic. CONCLUSIONS: An integrated surveillance strategy, outbreak management, and encouraging individual responsibility were successful in early detection of clusters of COVID-19 among HCWs. With ongoing local transmission, vigilance must be maintained for intrahospital spread in nonclinical areas where social mingling of HCWs occurs. Because most individuals with COVID-19 have mild symptoms, addressing presenteeism is crucial to minimize potential staff and patient exposure.

Coronavirus Infections/diagnosis , Coronavirus Infections/prevention & control , Infection Control/methods , Pandemics/prevention & control , Personnel, Hospital , Pneumonia, Viral/diagnosis , Pneumonia, Viral/prevention & control , Population Surveillance , Adult , COVID-19 , Cluster Analysis , Coronavirus Infections/epidemiology , Coronavirus Infections/transmission , Early Diagnosis , Female , Hospitals, General , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , Pneumonia, Viral/epidemiology , Pneumonia, Viral/transmission , Singapore/epidemiology , Symptom Assessment , Young Adult