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2.
Interface Focus ; 12(2): 20210066, 2022 Apr 06.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1713823

ABSTRACT

Outbreaks of COVID-19 in hospices for palliative care patients pose a unique and difficult situation. Staff, relatives and patients may be possible sources and recipients of infection. We present an outbreak of COVID-19 in a hospice setting, during the UK's first pandemic wave. During the outbreak period, 26 patients and 30 staff tested SARS-CoV-2 positive by laboratory-based RT-PCR testing. Most infected staff exhibited some mild, non-specific symptoms so affected staff members may not have voluntarily self-isolated or had themselves tested on this basis. Similarly, for infected patients, most became symptomatic and were then isolated. Additional, enhanced aerosol infection control measures were implemented, including opening of all windows where available; universal masking for all staff, including in non-clinical areas and taking breaks separately; screening for asymptomatic infection among staff and patients, with appropriate isolation (at home for staff) if infected; performing a ventilation survey of the hospice facility. After these measures were instigated, the numbers of COVID-19 cases decreased to zero over the following three weeks. This outbreak study demonstrated that an accurate understanding of the routes of infection for a new pathogen, as well as the nature of symptomatic versus asymptomatic infection and transmission, is crucial for controlling its spread.

3.
The Lancet ; 398, 2021.
Article in English | ProQuest Central | ID: covidwho-1537144

ABSTRACT

Background Little is known about how asymptomatic testing as a method to control the transmission of COVID-19 can be successfully implemented, and the prevalence of asymptomatic infection within university populations. The aim of this study was to describe the methodology of implementing a novel asymptomatic mass testing programme, and to report the number of positive cases diagnosed during the study period. To our knowledge, this study is the first to report prevalence of asymptomatic COVID-19 infection within a UK university population using reverse transcriptase loop-mediated isothermal amplification (RT-LAMP) as a molecular diagnostic tool. Methods An observational study was undertaken to describe the set-up and implementation of a novel COVID-19 testing programme on a UK university campus between Sept 28 and Dec 18, 2020. Students and staff members volunteered for testing throughout the term. The programme used RT-LAMP testing to identify asymptomatic cases within the population. Any positive cases received RT-PCR testing to confirm the result using the current gold-standard testing methodology. Findings 1673 tests were done using RT-LAMP during the study period, of which nine were positive for COVID-19. This gave an overall positivity rate of 0·54%, equivalent to a rate in the tested population of 538 cases per 100 000 over the duration of testing. All positive tests were also found to be positive on RT-PCR testing, giving a false positive rate of 0%. Uptake was affected by changes to delivery of university teaching, leading to lower attendance on campus throughout the term. Interpretation This study shows that it is possible to rapidly set up a universal university testing programme for COVID-19 in collaboration with local health-care providers using RT-LAMP testing, with full concordance between RT-LAMP testing and RT-PCR testing on positive RT-LAMP results. Positive results were similar to those in the local population, although with a different weekly peak of infection. Funding None.

7.
J Infect ; 82(6): 253-259, 2021 06.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1152506

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Human to human transmission of SARS-CoV-2 is driven by the respiratory route but little is known about the pattern and quantity of virus output from exhaled breath. We have previously shown that face-mask sampling (FMS) can detect exhaled tubercle bacilli and have adapted its use to quantify exhaled SARS-CoV-2 RNA in patients admitted to hospital with Coronavirus Disease-2019 (COVID-19). METHODS: Between May and December 2020, we took two concomitant FMS and nasopharyngeal samples (NPS) over two days, starting within 24 h of a routine virus positive NPS in patients hospitalised with COVID-19, at University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust, UK. Participants were asked to wear a modified duckbilled facemask for 30 min, followed by a nasopharyngeal swab. Demographic, clinical, and radiological data, as well as International Severe Acute Respiratory and emerging Infections Consortium (ISARIC) mortality and deterioration scores were obtained. Exposed masks were processed by removal, dissolution and analysis of sampling matrix strips fixed within the mask by RT-qPCR. Viral genome copy numbers were determined and results classified as Negative; Low: ≤999 copies; Medium: 1000-99,999 copies and High ≥ 100,000 copies per strip for FMS or per 100 µl for NPS. RESULTS: 102 FMS and NPS were collected from 66 routinely positive patients; median age: 61 (IQR 49 - 77), of which FMS was positive in 38% of individuals and concomitant NPS was positive in 50%. Positive FMS viral loads varied over five orders of magnitude (<10-3.3 x 106 genome copies/strip); 21 (32%) patients were asymptomatic at the time of sampling. High FMS viral load was associated with respiratory symptoms at time of sampling and shorter interval between sampling and symptom onset (FMS High: median (IQR) 2 days (2-3) vs FMS Negative: 7 days (7-10), p = 0.002). On multivariable linear regression analysis, higher FMS viral loads were associated with higher ISARIC mortality (Medium FMS vs Negative FMS gave an adjusted coefficient of 15.7, 95% CI 3.7-27.7, p = 0.01) and deterioration scores (High FMS vs Negative FMS gave an adjusted coefficient of 37.6, 95% CI 14.0 to 61.3, p = 0.002), while NPS viral loads showed no significant association. CONCLUSION: We demonstrate a simple and effective method for detecting and quantifying exhaled SARS-CoV-2 in hospitalised patients with COVID-19. Higher FMS viral loads were more likely to be associated with developing severe disease compared to NPS viral loads. Similar to NPS, FMS viral load was highest in early disease and in those with active respiratory symptoms, highlighting the potential role of FMS in understanding infectivity.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Humans , Masks , Middle Aged , RNA, Viral , Viral Load
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