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Emerg Med J ; 37(11): 707-713, 2020 Nov.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-788175


Rigorous assessment of occupational COVID-19 risk and personal protective equipment (PPE) use is not well-described. We evaluated 9-1-1 emergency medical services (EMS) encounters for patients with COVID-19 to assess occupational exposure, programmatic strategies to reduce exposure and PPE use. We conducted a retrospective cohort investigation of laboratory-confirmed patients with COVID-19 in King County, Washington, USA, who received 9-1-1 EMS responses from 14 February 2020 to 26 March 2020. We reviewed dispatch, EMS and public health surveillance records to evaluate the temporal relationship between exposure and programmatic changes to EMS operations designed to identify high-risk patients, protect the workforce and conserve PPE. There were 274 EMS encounters for 220 unique COVID-19 patients involving 700 unique EMS providers with 988 EMS person-encounters. Use of 'full' PPE including mask (surgical or N95), eye protection, gown and gloves (MEGG) was 67%. There were 151 person-exposures among 129 individuals, who required 981 quarantine days. Of the 700 EMS providers, 3 (0.4%) tested positive within 14 days of encounter, though these positive tests were not attributed to occupational exposure from inadequate PPE. Programmatic changes were associated with a temporal reduction in exposures. When stratified at the study encounters midpoint, 94% (142/151) of exposures occurred during the first 137 EMS encounters compared with 6% (9/151) during the second 137 EMS encounters (p<0.01). By the investigation's final week, EMS deployed MEGG PPE in 34% (3579/10 468) of all EMS person-encounters. Less than 0.5% of EMS providers experienced COVID-19 illness within 14 days of occupational encounter. Programmatic strategies were associated with a reduction in exposures, while achieving a measured use of PPE.

Coronavirus Infections/epidemiology , Coronavirus Infections/transmission , Emergency Medical Services/organization & administration , Occupational Exposure/prevention & control , Occupational Exposure/statistics & numerical data , Personal Protective Equipment , Pneumonia, Viral/epidemiology , Pneumonia, Viral/transmission , Betacoronavirus , COVID-19 , COVID-19 Testing , Clinical Laboratory Techniques , Coronavirus Infections/diagnosis , Female , Humans , Male , Mass Screening , Pandemics , Quarantine , Retrospective Studies , Risk Assessment , SARS-CoV-2 , Washington/epidemiology
N Engl J Med ; 382(21): 2005-2011, 2020 05 21.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-17812


BACKGROUND: Long-term care facilities are high-risk settings for severe outcomes from outbreaks of Covid-19, owing to both the advanced age and frequent chronic underlying health conditions of the residents and the movement of health care personnel among facilities in a region. METHODS: After identification on February 28, 2020, of a confirmed case of Covid-19 in a skilled nursing facility in King County, Washington, Public Health-Seattle and King County, aided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, launched a case investigation, contact tracing, quarantine of exposed persons, isolation of confirmed and suspected cases, and on-site enhancement of infection prevention and control. RESULTS: As of March 18, a total of 167 confirmed cases of Covid-19 affecting 101 residents, 50 health care personnel, and 16 visitors were found to be epidemiologically linked to the facility. Most cases among residents included respiratory illness consistent with Covid-19; however, in 7 residents no symptoms were documented. Hospitalization rates for facility residents, visitors, and staff were 54.5%, 50.0%, and 6.0%, respectively. The case fatality rate for residents was 33.7% (34 of 101). As of March 18, a total of 30 long-term care facilities with at least one confirmed case of Covid-19 had been identified in King County. CONCLUSIONS: In the context of rapidly escalating Covid-19 outbreaks, proactive steps by long-term care facilities to identify and exclude potentially infected staff and visitors, actively monitor for potentially infected patients, and implement appropriate infection prevention and control measures are needed to prevent the introduction of Covid-19.

Betacoronavirus , Coronavirus Infections/epidemiology , Disease Transmission, Infectious , Infection Control/methods , Pandemics/prevention & control , Pneumonia, Viral/epidemiology , Skilled Nursing Facilities , Adult , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , COVID-19 , COVID-19 Testing , Clinical Laboratory Techniques , Contact Tracing , Coronavirus Infections/diagnosis , Coronavirus Infections/mortality , Coronavirus Infections/prevention & control , Coronavirus Infections/transmission , Disease Outbreaks , Disease Transmission, Infectious/prevention & control , Female , Health Personnel , Humans , Long-Term Care , Male , Middle Aged , Pneumonia, Viral/mortality , Pneumonia, Viral/prevention & control , Pneumonia, Viral/transmission , SARS-CoV-2 , Washington/epidemiology