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1.
J Med Virol ; 93(3): 1548-1555, 2021 03.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1196475

ABSTRACT

During this coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, physicians have the important task of risk stratifying patients who present with acute respiratory illnesses. Clinical presentation of COVID-19, however, can be difficult to distinguish from other respiratory viral infections. Thus, identifying clinical features that are strongly associated with COVID-19 in comparison to other respiratory viruses can aid risk stratification and testing prioritization especially in situations where resources for virological testing and resources for isolation facilities are limited. In our retrospective cohort study comparing the clinical presentation of COVID-19 and other respiratory viral infections, we found that anosmia and dysgeusia were symptoms independently associated with COVID-19 and can be important differentiating symptoms in patients presenting with acute respiratory illness. On the other hand, laboratory abnormalities and radiological findings were not statistically different between the two groups. In comparing outcomes, patients with COVID-19 were more likely to need high dependency or intensive care unit care and had a longer median length of stay. With our findings, we emphasize that epidemiological risk factors and clinical symptoms are more useful than laboratory and radiological abnormalities in differentiating COVID-19 from other respiratory viral infections.


Subject(s)
Anosmia/pathology , COVID-19/diagnosis , COVID-19/pathology , Dysgeusia/pathology , Adult , Ageusia/diagnosis , Ageusia/virology , Anosmia/diagnosis , Anosmia/virology , COVID-19/epidemiology , Critical Care/statistics & numerical data , Dysgeusia/diagnosis , Dysgeusia/virology , Female , Humans , Intensive Care Units/statistics & numerical data , Length of Stay , Male , Middle Aged , Respiration, Artificial/statistics & numerical data , Retrospective Studies , Risk Factors , SARS-CoV-2
2.
Infect Dis Health ; 26(2): 123-131, 2021 05.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1002590

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: During the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, healthcare-associated transmission of respiratory viral infections (RVI) is a concern. To reduce the impact of SARS-CoV-2 and other respiratory viruses on patients and healthcare workers (HCWs) we devised and evaluated a multi-tiered infection control strategy with the goal of preventing nosocomial transmission of SARS-CoV2 and other RVIs across a large healthcare campus. METHODS: From January-June 2020, a multi-tiered infection control strategy was implemented across a healthcare campus in Singapore, comprising the largest acute tertiary hospital as well as four other subspecialty centres, with more than 10,000 HCWs. Drawing on our institution's experience with an outbreak of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) in 2003, this strategy included improved patient segregation and distancing, and heightened infection prevention and control (IPC) measures including universal masking. All symptomatic patients were tested for COVID-19 and common RVIs. RESULTS: A total of 16,162 admissions campus-wide were screened; 7.1% (1155/16,162) tested positive for COVID-19. Less than 5% of COVID-19 cases (39/1155) were initially detected outside of isolation wards in multi-bedded cohorted wards. Improved distancing and enhanced IPC measures successfully mitigated onward spread even amongst COVID-19 cases detected outside of isolation. COVID-19 rates amongst HCWs were kept low (0.13%, 17/13,066) and reflected community acquisition rather than nosocomial spread. Rates of healthcare-associated-RVI amongst inpatients fell to zero and this decrease was sustained even after the lifting of visitor restrictions. CONCLUSION: This multi-tiered infection control strategies can be implemented at-scale to successfully mitigate healthcare-associated transmission of respiratory viral pathogens.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/prevention & control , Cross Infection/prevention & control , Respiratory Tract Infections/prevention & control , SARS-CoV-2 , Health Personnel , Humans
3.
Infection ; 49(2): 305-311, 2021 Apr.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-973708

ABSTRACT

PURPOSE: One of the key approaches to minimize the risk of COVID-19 transmission would be to reduce the titres of SARS-CoV-2 in the saliva of infected COVID-19 patients. This is particularly important in high-risk procedures like dental treatment. The present randomized control trial evaluated the efficacy of three commercial mouth-rinse viz. povidone-iodine (PI), chlorhexidine gluconate (CHX) and cetylpyridinium chloride (CPC), in reducing the salivary SARS-CoV-2 viral load in COVID-19 patients compared with water. METHODS: A total of 36 SARS-CoV-2-positive patients were recruited, of which 16 patients were randomly assigned to four groups-PI group (n = 4), CHX group (n = 6), CPC group (n = 4) and water as control group (n = 2). Saliva samples were collected from all patients at baseline and at 5 min, 3 h and 6 h post-application of mouth-rinses/water. The samples were subjected to SARS-CoV-2 RT-PCR analysis. RESULTS: Comparison of salivary Ct values of patients within each group of PI, CHX, CPC and water at 5 min, 3 h and 6 h time points did not show any significant differences. However, when the Ct value fold change of each of the mouth-rinse group patients were compared with the fold change of water group patients at the respective time points, a significant increase was observed in the CPC group patients at 5 min and 6 h and in the PI group patients at 6 h. CONCLUSION: The effect of decreasing salivary load with CPC and PI mouth-rinsing was observed to be sustained at 6 h time point. Within the limitation of the current study, as number of the samples analyzed, the use of CPC and PI formulated that commercial mouth-rinses may be useful as a pre-procedural rinse to help reduce the transmission of COVID-19. ISRCTN (ISRCTN95933274), 09/09/20, retrospectively registered.


Subject(s)
Anti-Infective Agents, Local/therapeutic use , COVID-19/drug therapy , Mouthwashes/therapeutic use , SARS-CoV-2/drug effects , Saliva/virology , Viral Load/drug effects , Adult , COVID-19/prevention & control , COVID-19/transmission , COVID-19/virology , Cetylpyridinium/analysis , Cetylpyridinium/therapeutic use , Chlorhexidine/analogs & derivatives , Chlorhexidine/analysis , Chlorhexidine/therapeutic use , Female , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , Mouthwashes/chemistry , Povidone-Iodine/analysis , Povidone-Iodine/therapeutic use , Singapore , Treatment Outcome , Young Adult
5.
Thorax ; 76(5): 512-513, 2021 05.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-961138

ABSTRACT

Hospitalisations for acute exacerbations of COPD (AECOPD) carry significant morbidity and mortality. Respiratory viral infections (RVIs) are the most common cause of AECOPD and are associated with worse clinical outcomes. During the COVID-19 pandemic, public health measures, such as social distancing and universal masking, were originally implemented to reduce transmission of SARS-CoV-2; these public health measures were subsequently also observed to reduce transmission of other common circulating RVIs. In this study, we report a significant and sustained decrease in hospital admissions for all AECOPD as well as RVI-associated AECOPD, which coincided with the introduction of public health measures during the COVID-19 pandemic.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/epidemiology , Hospitalization/trends , Hospitals/statistics & numerical data , Pandemics , Public Health , Humans , Incidence , SARS-CoV-2 , Singapore/epidemiology
6.
Am J Infect Control ; 49(4): 469-477, 2021 04.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-907189

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: In the current COVID-19 pandemic, aggressive Infection Prevention and Control (IPC) measures have been adopted to prevent health care-associated transmission of COVID-19. We evaluated the impact of a multimodal IPC strategy originally designed for the containment of COVID-19 on the rates of other hospital-acquired-infections (HAIs). METHODOLOGY: From February-August 2020, a multimodal IPC strategy was implemented across a large health care campus in Singapore, comprising improved segregation of patients with respiratory symptoms, universal masking and heightened adherence to Standard Precautions. The following rates of HAI were compared pre- and postpandemic: health care-associated respiratory-viral-infection (HA-RVI), methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, and CP-CRE acquisition rates, health care-facility-associated C difficile infections and device-associated HAIs. RESULTS: Enhanced IPC measures introduced to contain COVID-19 had the unintended positive consequence of containing HA-RVI. The cumulative incidence of HA-RVI decreased from 9.69 cases per 10,000 patient-days to 0.83 cases per 10,000 patient-days (incidence-rate-ratio = 0.08; 95% confidence interval [CI] = 0.05-0.13, P< .05). Hospital-wide MRSA acquisition rates declined significantly during the pandemic (incidence-rate-ratio = 0.54, 95% CI = 0.46-0.64, P< .05), together with central-line-associated-bloodstream infection rates (incidence-rate-ratio = 0.24, 95% CI = 0.07-0.57, P< .05); likely due to increased compliance with Standard Precautions. Despite the disruption caused by the pandemic, there was no increase in CP-CRE acquisition, and rates of other HAIs remained stable. CONCLUSIONS: Multimodal IPC strategies can be implemented at scale to successfully mitigate health care-associated transmission of RVIs. Good adherence to personal-protective-equipment and hand hygiene kept other HAI rates stable even during an ongoing pandemic where respiratory infections were prioritized for interventions.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/prevention & control , Cross Infection/prevention & control , Infection Control/methods , SARS-CoV-2 , Catheter-Related Infections/prevention & control , Catheterization, Central Venous/adverse effects , Humans , Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus , Respiratory Tract Infections/prevention & control , Respiratory Tract Infections/virology , Staphylococcal Infections/microbiology , Staphylococcal Infections/prevention & control , United States
7.
Am J Trop Med Hyg ; 103(5): 2005-2011, 2020 11.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-807890

ABSTRACT

During the COVID-19 pandemic, distinguishing dengue from cases of COVID-19 in endemic areas can be difficult. In a tertiary hospital contending with COVID-19 during a dengue epidemic, a triage strategy of routine COVID-19 testing for febrile patients with viral prodromes was used. All febrile patients with viral prodromes and no epidemiologic risk for COVID-19 were first admitted to a designated ward for COVID-19 testing, where enhanced personal protective equipment was used by healthcare workers until COVID-19 was ruled out. From January to May 2020, 11,086 admissions were screened for COVID-19; 868 cases of COVID-19 were diagnosed in our institution, along with 380 cases of dengue. Only 8.5% (943/11,086) of suspected COVID-19 cases were concurrently tested for dengue serology due to a compatible overlapping clinical syndrome, and dengue was established as an alternative diagnosis in 2% (207/10,218) of suspected COVID-19 cases that tested negative. There were eight COVID-19 cases with likely false-positive dengue serology and one probable COVID-19/dengue coinfection. From April to May 2020, 251 admissions presenting as viral prodromes with no respiratory symptoms were screened; of those, 15 cases had COVID-19, and 2/15 had false-positive dengue IgM. Epidemiology investigations showed no healthcare-associated transmission. In a dengue epidemic season coinciding with a COVID-19 pandemic, dengue was established as an alternative diagnosis in a minority of COVID-19 suspects, likely due to early availability of basic diagnostics. Routine screening of patients with viral prodromes during a dual outbreak of COVID-19 and dengue enabled containment of COVID-19 cases masquerading as dengue with false-positive IgM.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/epidemiology , Dengue/epidemiology , Disease Outbreaks , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , Adult , Aged , COVID-19/complications , COVID-19/diagnosis , COVID-19/therapy , COVID-19 Nucleic Acid Testing , Dengue/complications , Dengue/diagnosis , Dengue/drug therapy , Dengue Virus/immunology , Dengue Virus/isolation & purification , Diagnosis, Differential , Female , Humans , Immunoglobulin M/blood , Male , Middle Aged , Oropharynx/virology , RNA, Viral/isolation & purification , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Singapore/epidemiology , Tertiary Care Centers , Triage/standards
9.
Surg Infect (Larchmt) ; 21(9): 760-765, 2020 Nov.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-680792

ABSTRACT

Background: In the ongoing coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, resuming provision of surgical services poses a challenge given that patients may have acute surgical pathologies with concurrent COVID-19 infection. We utilized a risk-stratified approach to allow for early recognition and isolation of potential COVID-19 infection in surgical patients, ensuring continuity of surgical services during a COVID-19 outbreak. Patients and Methods: Over a four-month period from January to April 2020, surgical patients admitted with concurrent respiratory symptom, infiltrates on chest imaging, or suspicious travel/epidemiologic history were placed in a dedicated ward in which they were tested for severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2). If emergency operations were necessary prior to the exclusion of COVID-19, patients were managed as per suspected cases of COVID-19, with appropriate precautions and full personal protective equipment (PPE). Results: From January through April 2020, a total of 8,437 patients were admitted to our surgical department; 5.9% (498/8437) required peri-operative testing for SARS-CoV-2. Because testing was in-house with turnaround within 24 hours, only a small number of emergency operations (n = 10) were conducted for suspected COVID-19 cases prior to results; none tested positive. The testing yield was lower in surgical inpatients compared with medical inpatients (odds ratio [OR] = 0.20, 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.12-0.32, p < 0.001). Three operations were conducted in known COVID-19 cases; all healthcare workers (HCWs) used full PPE. A risk-stratified testing strategy picked up previously unsuspected COVID-19 in six cases; 66.7% (4/6) were asymptomatic at presentation. Although 48 HCWs were exposed to these six cases, delayed diagnosis was averted and no evidence of spread to patients or HCWs was detected. Conclusion: A risk-stratified approach allowed for early recognition, testing, and isolation of potential COVID-19 infection in surgical patients, ensuring continuity of surgical services.


Subject(s)
Coronavirus Infections/diagnosis , Coronavirus Infections/physiopathology , Inpatients , Patient Isolation/methods , Pneumonia, Viral/diagnosis , Pneumonia, Viral/physiopathology , Adult , COVID-19 , Disease Outbreaks , Female , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , Pandemics , Personal Protective Equipment , Risk Assessment , Singapore , Surgical Procedures, Operative , Tertiary Care Centers
10.
Infect Control Hosp Epidemiol ; 41(7): 765-771, 2020 07.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-622776

ABSTRACT

OBJECTIVE: Staff surveillance is crucial during the containment phase of a pandemic to help reduce potential healthcare-associated transmission and sustain good staff morale. During an outbreak of SARS-COV-2 with community transmission, our institution used an integrated strategy for early detection and containment of COVID-19 cases among healthcare workers (HCWs). METHODS: Our strategy comprised 3 key components: (1) enforcing reporting of HCWs with acute respiratory illness (ARI) to our institution's staff clinic for monitoring; (2) conducting ongoing syndromic surveillance to obtain early warning of potential clusters of COVID-19; and (3) outbreak investigation and management. RESULTS: Over a 16-week surveillance period, we detected 14 cases of COVID-19 among HCWs with ARI symptoms. Two of the cases were linked epidemiologically and thus constituted a COVID-19 cluster with intrahospital HCW-HCW transmission; we also detected 1 family cluster and 2 clusters among HCWs who shared accommodation. No transmission to HCWs or patients was detected after containment measures were instituted. Early detection minimized the number of HCWs requiring quarantine, hence preserving continuity of service during an ongoing pandemic. CONCLUSIONS: An integrated surveillance strategy, outbreak management, and encouraging individual responsibility were successful in early detection of clusters of COVID-19 among HCWs. With ongoing local transmission, vigilance must be maintained for intrahospital spread in nonclinical areas where social mingling of HCWs occurs. Because most individuals with COVID-19 have mild symptoms, addressing presenteeism is crucial to minimize potential staff and patient exposure.


Subject(s)
Coronavirus Infections/diagnosis , Coronavirus Infections/prevention & control , Infection Control/methods , Pandemics/prevention & control , Personnel, Hospital , Pneumonia, Viral/diagnosis , Pneumonia, Viral/prevention & control , Population Surveillance , Adult , COVID-19 , Cluster Analysis , Coronavirus Infections/epidemiology , Coronavirus Infections/transmission , Early Diagnosis , Female , Hospitals, General , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , Pneumonia, Viral/epidemiology , Pneumonia, Viral/transmission , Singapore/epidemiology , Symptom Assessment , Young Adult
11.
Am J Infect Control ; 48(9): 1056-1061, 2020 09.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-619967

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: During an ongoing outbreak of COVID-19, unsuspected cases may be housed outside of dedicated isolation wards. AIM: At a Singaporean tertiary hospital, individuals with clinical syndromes compatible with COVID-19 but no epidemiologic risk were placed in cohorted general wards for COVID-19 testing. To mitigate risk, an infection control bundle was implemented comprising infrastructural enhancements, improved personal protective equipment, and social distancing. We assessed the impact on environmental contamination and transmission. METHODS: Upon detection of a case of COVID-19 in the dedicated general ward, patients and health care workers (HCWs) contacts were identified. All patient and staff close-contacts were placed on 14-day phone surveillance and followed up for 28 days; symptomatic contacts were tested. Environmental samples were also obtained. FINDINGS: Over a 3-month period, 28 unsuspected cases of COVID-19 were contained in the dedicated general ward. In 5 of the 28 cases, sampling of the patient's environment yielded SARS-CoV-2; index cases who required supplemental oxygen had higher odds of environmental contamination (P = .01). A total of 253 staff close-contacts and 45 patient close-contacts were identified; only 3 HCWs (1.2%, 3/253) required quarantine. On 28-day follow-up, no patient-to-HCW transmission was documented; only 1 symptomatic patient close-contact tested positive. CONCLUSIONS: Our institution successfully implemented an intervention bundle to mitigate COVID-19 transmission in a multibedded cohorted general ward setting.


Subject(s)
Coronavirus Infections/transmission , Cross Infection/prevention & control , Disease Transmission, Infectious/prevention & control , Patients' Rooms , Pneumonia, Viral/transmission , Quarantine/methods , Adult , Aged , Betacoronavirus , COVID-19 , Contact Tracing , Coronavirus Infections/prevention & control , Female , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , Pandemics/prevention & control , Patient Care Bundles , Patient Isolation , Personal Protective Equipment , Pneumonia, Viral/prevention & control , SARS-CoV-2 , Singapore/epidemiology
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