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EuropePMC; 2020.
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-323417


Background: An outbreak of COVID-19 in a nursing home in the Netherlands, following an on-site church service held on March 8, 2020, triggered an investigation to unravel sources and chain(s) of transmission.MethodsEpidemiological data were collected from registries and through a questionnaire among church visitors. Symptomatic residents and healthcare workers (HCWs) were tested for SARS-CoV-2 by RT-PCR and subjected to whole genome sequencing (WGS). Sequences from a selection of people from the same area were included as community reference.ResultsAfter the church service, 30 of 39 visitors (77%) developed symptoms;14 were tested and were positive for COVID-19 (11 residents and 3 non-residents). In the following five weeks, 62 of 300 residents (21%) and 30 of 640 HCWs (5%) tested positive for COVID-19;21 of 62 residents (34%) died. The outbreak was controlled through a cascade of measures. WGS of samples from residents and HCWs identified a diversity of sequence types, grouped into eight clusters. Seven resident church visitors all were infected with distinct viruses, four of which belonged to two larger clusters in the nursing home.ConclusionsAlthough initial investigation suggested the church service as source of the outbreak, detailed analysis showed a more complex picture, most consistent with widespread regional circulation of the virus in the weeks before the outbreak, and multiple introductions into the nursing home before the visitor ban. The findings underscore the importance of careful outbreak investigations to understand SARS-CoV-2 transmission to develop evidence-based mitigation measures.