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1.
S Afr Med J ; 112(3): 201-208, 2022 03 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-35380521

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) has imposed unprecedented stressors on South Africa (SA)'s healthcare system. Superimposed on the country's quadruple burden of disease, pandemic-related care further exposes existing inequities. Some of these inequities are specific to hospital-based inpatient services, such as the geographical maldistribution of hospital beds, lack of oxygen supplies and assisted ventilation, and scarcity of trained healthcare workers. Certain high-risk groups, such as individuals with cardiometabolic comorbidity, are likely to develop severe COVID-19 disease requiring hospitalisation with potential for a prolonged length of stay (LoS). It may be helpful for health authorities to identify those at risk for prolonged LoS to facilitate appropriate health systems planning. OBJECTIVES: To identify hospital admission laboratory parameters associated with a hospital stay >14 days in patients with COVID-19 pneumonia. METHODS: A retrospective observational study design was used. Laboratory data were obtained from an SA private laboratory for 642 inpatients with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 pneumonia, comprising 7 months of admission laboratory data from six private hospitals in Johannesburg, Gauteng Province. RESULTS: Of 642 hospital admissions for pneumonia, 497 were confirmed to have COVID-19 infection (reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction test positive). In the COVID-19-positive group, hospital LoS was prolonged in 35.4% of admissions. Univariate analysis demonstrated an association with the following risk factors for prolonged LoS: older age; male sex; high serum creatinine, sodium (Na), chloride, potassium and urea levels and low estimated glomerular filtration rate; raised white blood cell count, lymphopenia, neutrophilia and an elevated neutrophil-to-lymphocyte ratio (NLR); and elevated levels of D-dimers, interleukin-6 (IL-6), and procalcitonin (PCT). The strongest univariate associations (relative risk (RR) ≥2.0) with a hospital stay >14 days were high Na levels, NRL >18, high PCT levels and IL-6 >40 pg/mL. On multivariable analysis, the following factors remained significantly associated with prolonged LoS: older age (RR 1.015 per year of age; 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.005 - 1.024); hypernatraemia (RR 1.80; 95% CI 1.25 - 2.60); hyperkalaemia (RR 1.61; 95% CI 1.18 - 2.20); and neutrophilia (RR 1.47; 95% CI 1.15 - 1.88). CONCLUSIONS: COVID-19 pandemic preparedness requires hospital-based inpatient care to be prioritised in resource-limited settings, and availability of beds and prompt admissions are essential to ensure good clinical outcomes. In this study of COVID-19 patients admitted with pneumonia, multivariable analysis showed older age, hypernatraemia, hyperkalaemia and neutrophilia to be associated with LoS >14 days. This may assist with healthcare systems planning.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Pandemics , Hospitals , Humans , Length of Stay , Male , Retrospective Studies , SARS-CoV-2 , South Africa/epidemiology
2.
S Afr Med J ; 110(11): 1119-1123, 2020 10 28.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-33403990

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: On 26 March 2020, the South African (SA) government initiated a 21-day national level 5 lockdown which was subsequently eased off and downgraded to level 4 on 1 May and to level 3 on 1 June. The effect of lockdown measures on SARS-CoV-2 infectivity is currently uncertain. In this article, we analyse the effects of the lockdown measures on the SARS-CoV-2 epidemic in one of the epicentres in SA. OBJECTIVES: To measure the effects of lockdown measures introduced in SA on SARS-CoV-2 attack rates (ARs, the percentage of individuals who tested positive in a specified time period) in Gauteng Province during a 4-month period (March - June 2020). METHODS: In this retrospective cohort study, we used a comprehensive database from an independent pathology laboratory in Gauteng. We analysed trends of positivity rates of reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction tests done during the 4-month period. The ARs are reported over time (unweighted and age-weighted 14-day moving averages) by age groups, gender, and different regions/districts in Gauteng. RESULTS: A total of 162 528 tests were performed at a private laboratory between 5 March and 30 June 2020, of which 20 574 were positive (overall AR 12.7%). These positive tests constituted 44.8% of all positive cases in the province (20 574/45 944). Sixty-two percent of all tests were done in June during lockdown level 3. There was an exponential increase in the AR in June (18.3%) when lockdown was eased to level 3, in comparison with 4.2% (March), 2.2% (April) and 3.3% (May). The increase in June was seen in all the age groups, although it was more pronounced in the 21 - 60 years age groups than the younger (0 - 20 years) and older (>60 years) age groups. The AR was significantly higher in males (13.2%) compared with females (12.1%) (χ2 test, p<0.0001). CONCLUSIONS: The findings of this study testify to the rapid increase in ARs resulting from easing of the lockdown regulations, especially to level 3 in June. Of concern is the upward trend in the AR across all age groups, especially <20 years (15.9%), which was not reported in other parts of the world. Population age dynamics should therefore be considered when taking future decisions about lockdown regulations.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/prevention & control , Communicable Disease Control , Adolescent , Adult , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/transmission , COVID-19 Nucleic Acid Testing , Child , Child, Preschool , Cohort Studies , Female , Humans , Incidence , Infant , Infant, Newborn , Male , Middle Aged , Retrospective Studies , SARS-CoV-2 , South Africa/epidemiology , Young Adult
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