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2.
JAMA Netw Open ; 4(9): e2126447, 2021 09 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1432337

ABSTRACT

Importance: Scalable programs for school-based SARS-CoV-2 testing and surveillance are needed to guide in-person learning practices and inform risk assessments in kindergarten through 12th grade settings. Objectives: To characterize SARS-CoV-2 infections in staff and students in an urban public school setting and evaluate test-based strategies to support ongoing risk assessment and mitigation for kindergarten through 12th grade in-person learning. Design, Setting, and Participants: This pilot quality improvement program engaged 3 schools in Omaha, Nebraska, for weekly saliva polymerase chain reaction testing of staff and students participating in in-person learning over a 5-week period from November 9 to December 11, 2020. Wastewater, air, and surface samples were collected weekly and tested for SARS-CoV-2 RNA to evaluate surrogacy for case detection and interrogate transmission risk of in-building activities. Main Outcomes and Measures: SARS-CoV-2 detection in saliva and environmental samples and risk factors for SARS-CoV-2 infection. Results: A total of 2885 supervised, self-collected saliva samples were tested from 458 asymptomatic staff members (mean [SD] age, 42.9 [12.4] years; 303 women [66.2%]; 25 Black or African American [5.5%], 83 Hispanic [18.1%], 312 White [68.1%], and 35 other or not provided [7.6%]) and 315 students (mean age, 14.2 [0.7] years; 151 female students [48%]; 20 Black or African American [6.3%], 201 Hispanic [63.8%], 75 White [23.8%], and 19 other race or not provided [6.0%]). A total of 46 cases of SARS-CoV-2 (22 students and 24 staff members) were detected, representing an increase in cumulative case detection rates from 1.2% (12 of 1000) to 7.0% (70 of 1000) among students and from 2.1% (21 of 1000) to 5.3% (53 of 1000) among staff compared with conventional reporting mechanisms during the pilot period. SARS-CoV-2 RNA was detected in wastewater samples from all pilot schools as well as in air samples collected from 2 choir rooms. Sequencing of 21 viral genomes in saliva specimens demonstrated minimal clustering associated with 1 school. Geographical analysis of SARS-CoV-2 cases reported district-wide demonstrated higher community risk in zip codes proximal to the pilot schools. Conclusions and Relevance: In this study of staff and students in 3 urban public schools in Omaha, Nebraska, weekly screening of asymptomatic staff and students by saliva polymerase chain reaction testing was associated with increased SARS-CoV-2 case detection, exceeding infection rates reported at the county level. Experiences differed among schools, and virus sequencing and geographical analyses suggested a dynamic interplay of school-based and community-derived transmission risk. Collectively, these findings provide insight into the performance and community value of test-based SARS-CoV-2 screening and surveillance strategies in the kindergarten through 12th grade educational setting.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 Testing/methods , COVID-19/epidemiology , Environmental Monitoring , Mass Screening , Program Evaluation , Schools , Urban Population , Adolescent , Adult , Air Microbiology , COVID-19/virology , Female , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , Nebraska , Pandemics , Pilot Projects , Polymerase Chain Reaction , Risk Assessment , SARS-CoV-2 , Saliva , School Teachers , Students , Waste Water/virology
3.
BMJ Open ; 11(9): e050330, 2021 09 15.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1411988

ABSTRACT

PURPOSE: In 2012, US Marines and Sailors began annual deployments to Australia to participate in joint training exercises with the Australian Defence Force and other partners in the region. During their training, US service members are exposed to a variety of infectious disease threats not normally encountered by American citizens. This paper describes a cohort of US Marines and Sailors enrolled during five rotations to Australia between 2016 and 2020. PARTICIPANTS: Study participation is strictly voluntary. Group informational sessions are held prior to deployment to describe the study structure and goals, as well as the infectious disease threats that participants may encounter while in Australia. All participants provided written informed consent. Consented participants complete a pre-deployment questionnaire to collect data including basic demographic information, military occupational specialty, travel history, family history, basic health status and personal habits such as alcohol consumption. Blood is collected for serum, plasma and peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) processing. Data and specimen collection is repeated up to three times: before, during and after deployment. FINDINGS TO DATE: From the five rotations that comprised the 2016-2020 Marine Rotational Force-Darwin, we enrolled 1289 volunteers. Enrolments during this period were overwhelmingly white male under the age of 24 years. Most of the enrollees were junior enlisted and non-commissioned officers, with a smaller number of staff non-commissioned officers and commissioned officers, and minimal warrant officers. Over half of the enrollees had occupational specialty designations for infantry. FUTURE PLANS: In the future, we will screen samples for serological evidence of infection with Burkholderia pseudomallei, Coxiella burnetii, Ross River virus, SARS-CoV-2 and other operationally relevant pathogens endemic in Australia. Antigenic stimulation assays will be performed on PBMCs collected from seropositive individuals to characterise the immune response to these infections in this healthy American population.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Military Personnel , Adult , Australia/epidemiology , Cohort Studies , Humans , Leukocytes, Mononuclear , Male , SARS-CoV-2 , United States/epidemiology , Young Adult
4.
Sci Rep ; 10(1): 13892, 2020 08 12.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1387449

ABSTRACT

An amendment to this paper has been published and can be accessed via a link at the top of the paper.

5.
J Expo Sci Environ Epidemiol ; 2021 Aug 18.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1364578

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Aerosol transmission of COVID-19 is the subject of ongoing policy debate. Characterizing aerosol produced by people with COVID-19 is critical to understanding the role of aerosols in transmission. OBJECTIVE: We investigated the presence of virus in size-fractioned aerosols from six COVID-19 patients admitted into mixed acuity wards in April of 2020. METHODS: Size-fractionated aerosol samples and aerosol size distributions were collected from COVID-19 positive patients. Aerosol samples were analyzed for viral RNA, positive samples were cultured in Vero E6 cells. Serial RT-PCR of cells indicated samples where viral replication was likely occurring. Viral presence was also investigated by western blot and transmission electron microscopy (TEM). RESULTS: SARS-CoV-2 RNA was detected by rRT-PCR in all samples. Three samples confidently indicated the presence of viral replication, all of which were from collected sub-micron aerosol. Western blot indicated the presence of viral proteins in all but one of these samples, and intact virions were observed by TEM in one sample. SIGNIFICANCE: Observations of viral replication in the culture of submicron aerosol samples provides additional evidence that airborne transmission of COVID-19 is possible. These results support the use of efficient respiratory protection in both healthcare and by the public to limit transmission.

6.
Clin Infect Dis ; 74(4): 729-733, 2022 03 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1328915

ABSTRACT

Emerging infectious disease epidemics require a rapid response from health systems; however, evidence-based consensus guidelines are generally absent early in the course of events. Formed in 2017 by 5 high-level isolation units spanning 3 continents, the experience of the Global Infectious Disease Preparedness Network (GIDPN) early in the course of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) provides a model for accelerating best practice development and improving decision-making in health emergencies. The network served as a platform for real-time, open and transparent information-sharing during unknowns of an active outbreak by clinicians caring for patients, by researchers conducting clinical trials and transmission and infection prevention studies, and by teams advising local and national policy makers. Shared knowledge led to earlier adoption of some treatment modalities as compared to most peer institutions and to implementation of protocols prior to incorporation into national guidelines. GIDPN and similar networks are integral in enhancing preparedness for and response to future epidemics/pandemics.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Communicable Diseases , Communicable Diseases/epidemiology , Communicable Diseases/therapy , Decision Making , Humans , Pandemics/prevention & control , SARS-CoV-2
7.
Am J Trop Med Hyg ; 105(3): 737-739, 2021 07 16.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1317302

ABSTRACT

We conducted an assessment of disability, anxiety, and other life impacts of COVID-19 and isolation care in a unique cohort of individuals. These included both community admissions to a university hospital as well as some of the earliest international aeromedical evacuees. Among an initial 16 COVID-19 survivors that were interviewed 6-12 months following their admission into isolation care, perception of their isolation care experience was related to their reporting of long-term consequences. However, anxiety and disability assessed with standard scores had no relationship with each other. Both capture of the isolation care experience and caution relying on single scoring systems for assessing long-term consequences in survivors are important considerations for on-going and future COVID-19 and other pandemic survivor research.


Subject(s)
Anxiety/etiology , COVID-19/psychology , Patient Isolation , SARS-CoV-2 , Adult , Aged , COVID-19/mortality , Disabled Persons , Humans , Middle Aged , Survivors
8.
JAC Antimicrob Resist ; 3(2): dlab073, 2021 Jun.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1294740

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Balancing the use of antibacterial therapy against selection for resistance in this pandemic era has introduced both questions and guidelines. In this project, we explored how prescription of empirical antibacterial therapy differs between those with and without SARS-CoV-2 infection. METHODS: Multivariable logistic regression was used to determine whether COVID-19 status and other factors play a role in the prescription of antibacterial therapy in an inpatient setting at a large referral academic medical centre. Further analysis was conducted to determine whether these factors differ between those testing positive and negative for SARS-CoV-2. RESULTS: Of 405 patients in the cohort, 175 received antibacterial therapy and 296 tested positive for SARS-CoV-2. A positive SARS-CoV-2 test carried an OR of 0.3 (95% CI: 0.19, 0.49) for receiving antibacterial treatment in the first 48 h after admission (P < 0.0001) adjusting for age and procalcitonin results. Patients were 1% and 3% less likely to receive antibacterials for every year increase in age in the overall group and among those testing negative for SARS-CoV-2, respectively. Younger age was found to impact use of antibacterial therapy in both the overall analysis as well as the SARS-CoV-2 negative subgroup (P = 0.03 and P = 0.01). High procalcitonin values were found to be associated with increased antibacterial therapy use in both the overall and stratified analyses. CONCLUSIONS: Antibacterial therapy prescription differs by COVID-19 disease status, and procalcitonin results are most highly associated with antibacterial use across strata.

9.
J Healthc Manag ; 66(5): 367-378, 2021 06 18.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1276263

ABSTRACT

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: This article describes the use and findings of the Hospital Medical Surge Preparedness Index (HMSPI) tool to improve the understanding of hospitals' ability to respond to mass casualty events such as the COVID-19 pandemic. For this investigation, data from the U.S. Census Bureau, the Dartmouth Atlas Project, and the 2005 to 2014 annual surveys of the American Hospital Association (AHA) were analyzed. The HMSPI tool uses variables from the AHA survey and the other two sources to allow facility, county, and referral area index calculations. Using the three data sets, the HMSPI also allows for an index calculation for per capita ratios and by political (state or county) boundaries. In this use case, the results demonstrated increases in county and state HMSPI scores through the period of analysis; however, no statistically significant difference was found in HMSPI scores between 2013 and 2014. The HMSPI builds on the limited scientific foundation of medical surge preparedness and could serve as an objective and standardized measure to assess the nation's medical readiness for crises such as the COVID-19 pandemic and other large-scale emergencies such as mass shootings. Future studies are encouraged to refine the score, assess the validity of the HMSPI, and evaluate its relevance in response to future legislative and executive policies that affect preparedness measures.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Disaster Planning , Mass Casualty Incidents , Hospitals , Humans , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2 , United States
10.
Emerg Infect Dis ; 27(4): 1032-1038, 2021 04.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1085129

ABSTRACT

The coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic has severely impacted the meat processing industry in the United States. We sought to detail demographics and outcomes of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 infections among workers in Nebraska meat processing facilities and determine the effects of initiating universal mask policies and installing physical barriers at 13 meat processing facilities. During April 1-July 31, 2020, COVID-19 was diagnosed in 5,002 Nebraska meat processing workers (attack rate 19%). After initiating both universal masking and physical barrier interventions, 8/13 facilities showed a statistically significant reduction in COVID-19 incidence in <10 days. Characteristics and incidence of confirmed cases aligned with many nationwide trends becoming apparent during this pandemic: specifically, high attack rates among meat processing industry workers, disproportionately high risk of adverse outcomes among ethnic and racial minority groups and men, and effectiveness of using multiple prevention and control interventions to reduce disease transmission.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Disease Transmission, Infectious/prevention & control , Food-Processing Industry , Infection Control , Meat-Packing Industry , Adult , COVID-19/diagnosis , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/prevention & control , COVID-19/transmission , Female , Food-Processing Industry/methods , Food-Processing Industry/organization & administration , Food-Processing Industry/trends , Humans , Incidence , Infection Control/instrumentation , Infection Control/methods , Infection Control/organization & administration , Male , Meat-Packing Industry/methods , Meat-Packing Industry/organization & administration , Meat-Packing Industry/trends , Minority Health/statistics & numerical data , Nebraska/epidemiology , Occupational Health/standards , Outcome Assessment, Health Care , Personal Protective Equipment/standards , Risk Assessment , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , Workplace/standards
11.
Sci Rep ; 10(1): 12732, 2020 07 29.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-691060

ABSTRACT

The novel severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) originated in Wuhan, China in late 2019, and its resulting coronavirus disease, COVID-19, was declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization on March 11, 2020. The rapid global spread of COVID-19 represents perhaps the most significant public health emergency in a century. As the pandemic progressed, a continued paucity of evidence on routes of SARS-CoV-2 transmission has resulted in shifting infection prevention and control guidelines between classically-defined airborne and droplet precautions. During the initial isolation of 13 individuals with COVID-19 at the University of Nebraska Medical Center, we collected air and surface samples to examine viral shedding from isolated individuals. We detected viral contamination among all samples, supporting the use of airborne isolation precautions when caring for COVID-19 patients.


Subject(s)
Aerosols/analysis , Betacoronavirus/genetics , Coronavirus Infections/pathology , Pneumonia, Viral/pathology , Air Pollutants/analysis , Betacoronavirus/isolation & purification , Betacoronavirus/physiology , COVID-19 , Coronavirus Infections/transmission , Coronavirus Infections/virology , Humans , Infection Control/methods , Pandemics , Pneumonia, Viral/transmission , Pneumonia, Viral/virology , Public Health , RNA, Viral/isolation & purification , RNA, Viral/metabolism , Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction , SARS-CoV-2 , Time Factors
12.
Am J Trop Med Hyg ; 102(5): 926-931, 2020 05.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-306760

ABSTRACT

The optimal time to initiate research on emergencies is before they occur. However, timely initiation of high-quality research may launch during an emergency under the right conditions. These include an appropriate context, clarity in scientific aims, preexisting resources, strong operational and research structures that are facile, and good governance. Here, Nebraskan rapid research efforts early during the 2020 coronavirus disease pandemic, while participating in the first use of U.S. federal quarantine in 50 years, are described from these aspects, as the global experience with this severe emerging infection grew apace. The experience has lessons in purpose, structure, function, and performance of research in any emergency, when facing any threat.


Subject(s)
Betacoronavirus , Biomedical Research , Clinical Laboratory Techniques , Coronavirus Infections , Pandemics , Pneumonia, Viral , COVID-19 , COVID-19 Testing , Coronavirus Infections/diagnosis , Coronavirus Infections/epidemiology , Coronavirus Infections/therapy , Coronavirus Infections/transmission , Emergencies , Female , Humans , Male , Patient Isolation , Pneumonia, Viral/epidemiology , Pneumonia, Viral/therapy , Pneumonia, Viral/transmission , Quarantine , SARS-CoV-2
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