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1.
Infect Control Hosp Epidemiol ; : 1-6, 2022 Jul 11.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2327113

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Air dispersal of respiratory viruses other than SARS-CoV-2 has not been systematically reported. The incidence and factors associated with air dispersal of respiratory viruses are largely unknown. METHODS: We performed air sampling by collecting 72,000 L of air over 6 hours for pediatric and adolescent patients infected with parainfluenza virus 3 (PIF3), respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), rhinovirus, and adenovirus. The patients were singly or 2-patient cohort isolated in airborne infection isolation rooms (AIIRs) from December 3, 2021, to January 26, 2022. The viral load in nasopharyngeal aspirates (NPA) and air samples were measured. Factors associated with air dispersal were investigated and analyzed. RESULTS: Of 20 singly isolated patients with median age of 30 months (range, 3 months-15 years), 7 (35%) had air dispersal of the viruses compatible with their NPA results. These included 4 (40%) of 10 PIF3-infected patients, 2 (66%) of 3 RSV-infected patients, and 1 (50%) of 2 adenovirus-infected patients. The mean viral load in their room air sample was 1.58×103 copies/mL. Compared with 13 patients (65%) without air dispersal, these 7 patients had a significantly higher mean viral load in their NPA specimens (6.15×107 copies/mL vs 1.61×105 copies/mL; P < .001). Another 14 patients were placed in cohorts as 7 pairs infected with the same virus (PIF3, 2 pairs; RSV, 3 pairs; rhinovirus, 1 pair; and adenovirus, 1 pair) in double-bed AIIRs, all of which had air dispersal. The mean room air viral load in 2-patient cohorts was significantly higher than in rooms of singly isolated patients (1.02×104 copies/mL vs 1.58×103 copies/mL; P = .020). CONCLUSION: Air dispersal of common respiratory viruses may have infection prevention and public health implications.

2.
Infect Prev Pract ; 5(2): 100286, 2023 Jun.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2320482

ABSTRACT

Background: The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has influenced antimicrobial consumption and incidence of multidrug-resistant organisms (MDROs). We aimed to study the epidemiology of MDROs before and during the COVID-19 pandemic in Hong Kong. Methods: With the maintenance of infection control measures, we described the trend of MDRO infections, including methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), carbapenem-resistant Acinetobacter species (CRA), and extended-spectrum-beta-lactamase-(ESBL)-producing Enterobacterales, in a healthcare region with 3100-bed before (1 January 2016 to 31 December 2019, period 1) and during COVID-19 (1 January 2020 to 30 September 2022, period 2), together with the antimicrobial consumption using piecewise Poisson regression. The epidemiological characteristics of newly diagnosed COVID-19 patients with or without MDRO infections were analyzed. Results: Between period 1 and 2, we observed a significant increase in the trend of CRA infections (P<0.001), while there was no significant increase in the trend of MRSA (P=0.742) and ESBL-producing Enterobacterales (P=0.061) infections. Meanwhile, a significant increase in the trend of carbapenems (P<0.001), extended-spectrum beta-lactam-beta-lactamase inhibitor combinations (BLBI) (P=0.045), and fluoroquinolones (P=0.009) consumption was observed. The observed opportunity (23,540 ± 3703 vs 26,145 ± 2838, p=0.359) and compliance (81.6% ± 0.5% vs 80.1% ± 0.8%, P=0.209) of hand hygiene per year was maintained. In a multivariable model, older age, male sex, referral from residential care home for the elderly, presence of indwelling device, presence of endotracheal tube, and use of carbapenems, use of BLBI, use of proton pump inhibitors and history of hospitalization in the past 3 months were associated with higher risks of infections by MDROs among COVID-19 patients. Conclusion: Infection control measures may control the surge of MDROs despite an increasing trend of antimicrobial consumption.

3.
Viruses ; 14(11)2022 Nov 14.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2286927

ABSTRACT

Hong Kong SAR has adopted universal masking, social distancing, testing of all symptomatic and high-risk groups for isolation of confirmed cases in healthcare facilities, and quarantine of contacts as epidemiological control measures without city lockdown or border closure. These measures successfully suppressed the community transmission of pre-Omicron SARS-CoV-2 variants or lineages during the first to the fourth wave. No nosocomial SARS-CoV-2 infection was documented among healthcare workers in the first 300 days. The strategy of COVID-19 containment was adopted to provide additional time to achieve population immunity by vaccination. The near-zero COVID-19 situation for about 8 months in 2021 did not enable adequate immunization of the eligible population. A combination of factors was identified, especially population complacency associated with the low local COVID-19 activity, together with vaccine hesitancy. The importation of the highly transmissible Omicron variant kickstarted the fifth wave of COVID-19, which could no longer be controlled by our initial measures. The explosive fifth wave, which was partially contributed by vertical airborne transmission in high-rise residential buildings, resulted in over one million cases of infection. In this review, we summarize the epidemiology of COVID-19 and the infection control and public health measures against the importation and dissemination of SARS-CoV-2 until day 1000.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Humans , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/prevention & control , Disease Outbreaks/prevention & control , Hong Kong/epidemiology , Infection Control
4.
Infect Prev Pract ; : 100261, 2022 Nov 29.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2246382

ABSTRACT

Background: No nosocomial infection was recorded in our healthcare workers (HCWs) during the early phase of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. With the emergence of the Omicron variant of increased transmissibility, infection in HCWs occurred as expected. We aimed to study the epidemiology of infection in HCWs and to describe the infection control measures during the outbreak of the Omicron variant. Methods: With daily rapid antigen testing and molecular confirmation test for COVID-19, infected HCWs were interviewed by infection control nurses (ICNs) to investigate the potential source of infection. The epidemiology of COVID-19 in Hong Kong served as reference. Results: During the fifth wave of COVID-19 (31 December 2021 to 31 May 2022), 1,200,068 cases were reported (incidence 95 times higher than in preceding waves in Hong Kong; 162,103 vs 1,707 per million population respectively, p<0.001). The proportion of infected HCWs was significantly higher than that of the general population (24.9%, 1,607/6,452 vs 16.2%, 12,000,068/7,403,100 respectively; p<0.01). The proportion of infected non-clinical staff was significantly higher than that of clinical staff (31.8%, 536/1,687 vs 22.5%, 1,071/4,765 respectively; p<0.001). Of 82.8% (1,330/1,607) infected HCWs interviewed by ICNs, 99.5% (1,324/1,330) had been fully vaccinated; 49.5% (659/1,330) had no identifiable source; 40.7% (541/1,330) were probably infected from household members; 9.8% (130/1,330) had possible exposure to confirmed patients or HCWs, but no lapse in infection control measures or inappropriate use of personal protective equipment was recalled. Conclusion: Omicron variant is highly transmissible such that breakthrough infection occurred despite high level of vaccination.

5.
Infect Control Hosp Epidemiol ; 41(11): 1258-1265, 2020 11.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2096345

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: The role of severe respiratory coronavirus virus 2 (SARS-CoV-2)-laden aerosols in the transmission of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) remains uncertain. Discordant findings of SARS-CoV-2 RNA in air samples were noted in early reports. METHODS: Sampling of air close to 6 asymptomatic and symptomatic COVID-19 patients with and without surgical masks was performed with sampling devices using sterile gelatin filters. Frequently touched environmental surfaces near 21 patients were swabbed before daily environmental disinfection. The correlation between the viral loads of patients' clinical samples and environmental samples was analyzed. RESULTS: All air samples were negative for SARS-CoV-2 RNA in the 6 patients singly isolated inside airborne infection isolation rooms (AIIRs) with 12 air changes per hour. Of 377 environmental samples near 21 patients, 19 (5.0%) were positive by reverse-transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) assay, with a median viral load of 9.2 × 102 copies/mL (range, 1.1 × 102 to 9.4 × 104 copies/mL). The contamination rate was highest on patients' mobile phones (6 of 77, 7.8%), followed by bed rails (4 of 74, 5.4%) and toilet door handles (4 of 76, 5.3%). We detected a significant correlation between viral load ranges in clinical samples and positivity rate of environmental samples (P < .001). CONCLUSION: SARS-CoV-2 RNA was not detectable by air samplers, which suggests that the airborne route is not the predominant mode of transmission of SARS-CoV-2. Wearing a surgical mask, appropriate hand hygiene, and thorough environmental disinfection are sufficient infection control measures for COVID-19 patients isolated singly in AIIRs. However, this conclusion may not apply during aerosol-generating procedures or in cohort wards with large numbers of COVID-19 patients.


Subject(s)
Air Microbiology , Betacoronavirus/isolation & purification , Coronavirus Infections/transmission , Fomites/virology , Infection Control/methods , Patients' Rooms , Pneumonia, Viral/transmission , Adolescent , Adult , Aerosols , COVID-19 , Coronavirus Infections/diagnosis , Coronavirus Infections/prevention & control , Female , Hospitalization , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , Pandemics/prevention & control , Pneumonia, Viral/diagnosis , Pneumonia, Viral/prevention & control , SARS-CoV-2 , Viral Load
6.
Infect Control Hosp Epidemiol ; : 1-4, 2022 Oct 24.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2087056

ABSTRACT

We obtained 24 air samples in 8 general wards temporarily converted into negative-pressure wards admitting coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) patients infected with severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) omicron variant BA.2.2 in Hong Kong. SARS-CoV-2 RNA was detected in 19 (79.2%) of 24 samples despite enhanced indoor air dilution. It is difficult to prevent airborne transmission of SARS-CoV-2 in hospitals.

7.
Vaccine ; 40(33): 4905-4910, 2022 08 05.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1907856

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Without the implementation of mandatory vaccination, it was difficult to increase the influenza vaccination rate among healthcare workers. We described the strategy of personal coaching and assess its impact in increasing the influenza vaccination rate among healthcare workers in Hong Kong. METHODS: Personal coaching of individual staff led by the infection control officer (ICO) and senior nursing officer (SNO) from infection control team could overcome barriers and promote on-site vaccination. The influenza vaccination rates among different categories of staff in 2016/2017 (year 1, baseline), 2017/2018 (year 2, promotion using social media), and 2018/2019 to 2020/2021 (year 3-5, promotion using personal coaching) were analysed in a healthcare region with 8490 ± 206 staff during the study period. RESULTS: With the implementation of personal coaching, the influenza vaccination rates increased significantly among medical (65.0% vs 57.0%, p = 0.048), nursing (30.6% vs 21.1%, p < 0.001), allied health (37.0% vs 27.4%, p < 0.001), care-related supporting staff (37.7% vs 27.3%, p < 0.001), and non-professional staff (27.3% vs 22.3%, p < 0.001) in year 3 compared with year 2, and also significantly increased among all staff in year 4 (38.0% vs 34.7%, p < 0.001) and year 5 (45.2% vs 38.0%, p < 0.001) when compared with the preceding year. The increase in vaccination rate was not apparent with social media promotion alone (26.4%, year 2 vs 25.6%, year 1, p = 0.305). CONCLUSION: Personal coaching led by ICO and SNO significantly increased the vaccination rates among healthcare workers in 3 consecutive years. This model could be promulgated to unit heads to establish a hospital culture conducive to vaccination.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Influenza Vaccines , Influenza, Human , Mentoring , COVID-19/prevention & control , Health Personnel , Humans , Influenza, Human/epidemiology , Influenza, Human/prevention & control , Pandemics/prevention & control , Vaccination
8.
Build Environ ; 221: 109323, 2022 Aug 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1906829

ABSTRACT

The phenomenon of vertical transmission of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) in high-rise residential buildings (HRRBs) is unique in our densely populated cosmopolitan city. The compulsory testing of a whole building under the scheme of restriction-testing declaration (RTD) during the fourth wave (non-Omicron variant) and fifth wave (mostly Omicron variant) of COVID-19 outbreak in Hong Kong allowed us to study the prevalence of this phenomenon, which may represent a form of airborne transmission. From 23 January 2021 to 24 March 2022, 25,450 (5.8%) of 436,397 residents from 223 (63.0%) of 354 HRRBs under RTD were test-positive for SARS-CoV-2. Using the clustering of cases among vertically aligned flats with shared drainage stack and lightwell as a surrogate marker of vertical transmission, the number of vertically aligned flats with positive COVID-19 cases was significantly higher in the fifth wave compared with the fourth wave (14.2%, 6471/45,531 vs 0.24%, 3/1272; p < 0.001; or 2212 vs 1 per-million-flats; p < 0.001). Excluding 22,801 residents from 38 HRRBs who were tested negative outside the 12-week periods selected in fourth and fifth waves, the positive rate among residents was significantly higher among residents during the fifth wave than the fourth wave (6.5%, 25,434/389,700 vs 0.07%, 16/23,896; p < 0.001). Within the flats with COVID-19 cases, the proportion of vertically aligned flats was also significantly higher in the fifth wave than in the fourth wave (95.6%, 6471/6766 vs 30.0%, 3/10, p < 0.001). The proportion of HRRBs with COVID-19 cases was significantly higher during the corresponding 12-week period chosen for comparison (78.2%, 219/280 vs 11.1%, 4/36; p < 0.001). Whole-genome phylogenetic analysis of 332 viral genomes showed that Omicron BA.2 was the predominant strain, supporting the high transmissibility of BA.2 by airborne excreta-aerosol route in HRRBs of Hong Kong.

9.
Clin Infect Dis ; 75(1): e44-e49, 2022 08 24.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1886378

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: The severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) Omicron variant BA.2 sublineage has increased rapidly in Europe and Asia since January 2022. Here, we report the epidemiological and genomic analysis of a large single-source BA.2 outbreak in a housing estate. METHODS: We analyzed the epidemiological information on a community outbreak of BA.2 (STY outbreak). We performed whole viral genome sequencing using the Oxford Nanopore MinION device. We calculated the doubling time of the outbreak within a housing estate. RESULTS: The STY outbreak involved a total of 768 individuals as of 5 February 2022, including 432 residents, visitors, or staff (56.3%) from a single housing estate (KC Estate). The outbreak at the KC Estate had a short doubling time of 1.28 days (95% confidence interval: .560-1.935). The outbreak was promptly controlled with the lockdown of 3 buildings within the housing estate. Whole-genome sequencing was performed for 133 patients in the STY outbreak, including 106 residents of the KC Estate. All 133 sequences from the STY outbreak belonged to the BA.2 sublineage, and phylogenetic analysis showed that these sequences cluster together. All individuals in the STY cluster had the unique mutation C12525T. CONCLUSIONS: Our study highlights the exceptionally high transmissibility of the Omicron variant BA.2 sublineage in Hong Kong, where stringent measures are implemented as part of the elimination strategy. Continual genomic surveillance is crucial in monitoring the emergence of epidemiologically important Omicron sublineages.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , COVID-19/epidemiology , Communicable Disease Control , Disease Outbreaks , Hong Kong/epidemiology , Humans , Phylogeny , SARS-CoV-2/genetics
10.
Antibiotics (Basel) ; 11(6)2022 May 31.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1869451

ABSTRACT

Nonpharmaceutical interventions implemented during the COVID-19 pandemic (2020-2021) have provided a unique opportunity to understand their impact on the wholesale supply of antibiotics and incidences of infections represented by bacteremia due to common bacterial species in Hong Kong. The wholesale antibiotic supply data (surrogate indicator of antibiotic consumption) and notifications of scarlet fever, chickenpox, and tuberculosis collected by the Centre for Health Protection, and the data of blood cultures of patients admitted to public hospitals in Hong Kong collected by the Hospital Authority for the last 10 years, were tabulated and analyzed. A reduction in the wholesale supply of antibiotics was observed. This decrease coincided with a significant reduction in the incidence of community-onset bacteremia due to Streptococcus pyogenes, Streptococcus pneumoniae, Haemophilus influenzae, and Neisseria meningitidis, which are encapsulated bacteria with respiratory transmission potential. This reduction was sustained during two pandemic years (period 2: 2020-2021), compared with eight pre-pandemic years (period 1: 2012-2019). Although the mean number of patient admissions per year (1,704,079 vs. 1,702,484, p = 0.985) and blood culture requests per 1000 patient admissions (149.0 vs. 158.3, p = 0.132) were not significantly different between periods 1 and 2, a significant reduction in community-onset bacteremia due to encapsulated bacteria was observed in terms of the mean number of episodes per year (257 vs. 58, p < 0.001), episodes per 100,000 admissions (15.1 vs. 3.4, p < 0.001), and per 10,000 blood culture requests (10.1 vs. 2.1, p < 0.001), out of 17,037,598 episodes of patient admissions with 2,570,164 blood culture requests. Consistent with the findings of bacteremia, a reduction in case notification of scarlet fever and airborne infections, including tuberculosis and chickenpox, was also observed; however, there was no reduction in the incidence of hospital-onset bacteremia due to Staphylococcus aureus or Escherichia coli. Sustained implementation of non-pharmaceutical interventions against respiratory microbes may reduce the overall consumption of antibiotics, which may have a consequential impact on antimicrobial resistance. Rebound of conventional respiratory microbial infections is likely with the relaxation of these interventions.

13.
Emerg Microbes Infect ; 11(1): 689-698, 2022 Dec.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1713523

ABSTRACT

During the investigation of a pet shop outbreak of severe acute respiratory coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) with probable hamster-to-human transmission, the environmental and hamster samples in epidemiologically linked pet shops were found positive for SARS-CoV-2 Delta variant AY.127 strains which are phylogenetically closely related to patients and reported European strains. This interspecies' spill-over has triggered transmission in 58 patients epidemiologically linked to three pet shops. Incidentally, three dwarf hamsters imported from the Netherlands and centralized in a warehouse distributing animals to pet shops were positive for SARS-CoV-2 spike variant phylogenetically related to European B.1.258 strains from March 2020. This B.1.258 strain almost disappeared in July 2021. While no hamster-to-human transmission of B.1.258-like strain was found in this outbreak, molecular docking showed that its spike receptor-binding domain (RBD) has a similar binding energy to human ACE2 compared to that of Delta variant AY.127. Therefore, the potential of this B.1.258-related spike variant for interspecies jumping cannot be ignored. The co-circulation of B.1.258-related spike variants with Delta AY.127, which originated in Europe and was not previously found in Hong Kong, suggested that hamsters in our wholesale warehouse and retail pet shops more likely have acquired these viruses in the Netherlands or stopovers during delivery by aviation than locally. The risk of human-to-hamster reverse zoonosis by multiple SARS-CoV-2 variants leading to further adaptive spike mutations with subsequent transmission back to humans cannot be underestimated as an outbreak source of COVID-19. Testing imported pet animals susceptible to SARS-CoV-2 is warranted to prevent future outbreaks.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Animals , Cricetinae , Hong Kong , Humans , Molecular Docking Simulation , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/chemistry
14.
J Hazard Mater ; 430: 128504, 2022 05 15.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1693278

ABSTRACT

Airborne transmission of SARS-CoV-2 has been increasingly recognized in the outbreak of COVID-19, especially with the Omicron variant. We investigated an outbreak due to Omicron variant in a restaurant. Besides epidemiological and phylogenetic analyses, the secondary attack rates of customers of restaurant-related COVID-19 outbreak before (Outbreak R1) and after enhancement of indoor air dilution (Outbreak R2) were compared. On 27th December 2021, an index case stayed in restaurant R2 for 98 min. Except for 1 sitting in the same table, six other secondary cases sat in 3 corners at 3 different zones, which were served by different staff. The median exposure time was 34 min (range: 19-98 min). All 7 secondary cases were phylogenetically related to the index. Smoke test demonstrated that the airflow direction may explain the distribution of secondary cases. Compared with an earlier COVID-19 outbreak in another restaurant R1 (19th February 2021), which occurred prior to the mandatory enhancement of indoor air dilution, the secondary attack rate among customers in R2 was significantly lower than that in R1 (3.4%, 7/207 vs 28.9%, 22/76, p<0.001). Enhancement of indoor air dilution through ventilation and installation of air purifier could minimize the risk of SARS-CoV-2 transmission in the restaurants.


Subject(s)
Air Pollution, Indoor , COVID-19 , COVID-19/epidemiology , Disease Outbreaks , Humans , Phylogeny , Restaurants , SARS-CoV-2/genetics
16.
Lancet Reg Health West Pac ; 17: 100281, 2021 Dec.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1446927

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Global dissemination of SARS-CoV-2 Variants of Concern (VOCs) remains a concern. The aim of this study is to describe how mass testing and phylogenetic analysis successfully prevented local transmission of SARS-CoV-2 VOC in a densely populated city with low herd immunity for COVID-19. METHODS: In this descriptive study, we conducted contact tracing, quarantine, and mass testing of the potentially exposed contacts with the index case. Epidemiological investigation and phylogeographic analysis were performed. FINDINGS: Among 11,818 laboratory confirmed cases of COVID-19 diagnosed till 13th May 2021 in Hong Kong, SARS-CoV-2 VOCs were found in 271 (2.3%) cases. Except for 10 locally acquired secondary cases, all SARS-CoV-2 VOCs were imported or acquired in quarantine hotels. The index case of this SARS-CoV-2 VOC B.1.351 epidemic, an inbound traveler with asymptomatic infection, was diagnosed 9 days after completing 21 days of quarantine. Contact tracing of 163 contacts in household, hotel, and residential building only revealed 1 (0.6%) secondary case. A symptomatic foreign domestic helper (FDH) without apparent epidemiological link but infected by virus with identical genome sequence was subsequently confirmed. Mass testing of 0.34 million FDHs identified two more cases which were phylogenetically linked. A total of 10 secondary cases were identified that were related to two household gatherings. The clinical attack rate of household close contact was significantly higher than non-household exposure during quarantine (7/25, 28% vs 0/2051, 0%; p<0.001). INTERPRETATION: The rising epidemic of SARS-CoV-2 VOC transmission could be successfully controlled by contact tracing, quarantine, and rapid genome sequencing complemented by mass testing. FUNDING: Health and Medical Research Fund Commissioned Research on Control of Infectious Disease (see acknowledgments for full list).

17.
Clin Infect Dis ; 73(6): e1356-e1364, 2021 09 15.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1412019

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Nosocomial outbreaks with superspreading of coronavirus disease 2019 due to a possible airborne transmission have not been reported. METHODS: Epidemiological analysis, environmental samplings, and whole-genome sequencing (WGS) were performed for a hospital outbreak. RESULTS: A superspreading event that involved 12 patients and 9 healthcare workers (HCWs) occurred within 9 days in 3 of 6 cubicles at an old-fashioned general ward with no air exhaust built within the cubicles. The environmental contamination by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) RNA was significantly higher in air grilles (>2 m from patients' heads and not within reach) than on high-touch clinical surfaces (36.4%, 8 of 22 vs 3.4%, 1 of 29, P = .003). Six (66.7%) of 9 contaminated air exhaust grilles were located outside patient cubicles. The clinical attack rate of patients was significantly higher than of HCWs (15.4%, 12 of 78 exposed patients vs 4.6%, 9 of 195 exposed HCWs, P = .005). Moreover, the clinical attack rate of ward-based HCWs was significantly higher than of nonward-based HCWs (8.1%, 7 of 68 vs 1.8%, 2 of 109, P = .045). The episodes (mean ±â€…standard deviation) of patient-care duty assignment in the cubicles was significantly higher among infected ward-based HCWs than among noninfected ward-based HCWs (6.0 ±â€…2.4 vs 3.0 ±â€…2.9, P = .012) during the outbreak period. The outbreak strains belong to SARS-CoV-2 lineage B.1.36.27 (GISAID clade GH) with the unique S-T470N mutation on WGS. CONCLUSIONS: This nosocomial point source superspreading event due to possible airborne transmission demonstrates the need for stringent SARS-CoV-2 screening at admission to healthcare facilities and better architectural design of ventilation systems to prevent such outbreaks. Portable high-efficiency particulate filters were installed in each cubicle to improve ventilation before resumption of clinical service.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Cross Infection , Cross Infection/epidemiology , Disease Outbreaks , Health Personnel , Hospitals , Humans , SARS-CoV-2
19.
Infect Control Hosp Epidemiol ; 43(3): 334-343, 2022 03.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1189150

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Nosocomial outbreaks leading to healthcare worker (HCW) infection and death have been increasingly reported during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. OBJECTIVE: We implemented a strategy to reduce nosocomial acquisition. METHODS: We summarized our experience in implementing a multipronged infection control strategy in the first 300 days (December 31, 2019, to October 25, 2020) of the COVID-19 pandemic under the governance of Hospital Authority in Hong Kong. RESULTS: Of 5,296 COVID-19 patients, 4,808 (90.8%) were diagnosed in the first pandemic wave (142 cases), second wave (896 cases), and third wave (3,770 cases) in Hong Kong. With the exception of 1 patient who died before admission, all COVID-19 patients were admitted to the public healthcare system for a total of 78,834 COVID-19 patient days. The median length of stay was 13 days (range, 1-128). Of 81,955 HCWs, 38 HCWs (0.05%; 2 doctors and 11 nurses and 25 nonprofessional staff) acquired COVID-19. With the exception of 5 of 38 HCWs (13.2%) infected by HCW-to-HCW transmission in the nonclinical settings, no HCW had documented transmission from COVID-19 patients in the hospitals. The incidence of COVID-19 among HCWs was significantly lower than that of our general population (0.46 per 1,000 HCWs vs 0.71 per 1,000 population; P = .008). The incidence of COVID-19 among professional staff was significantly lower than that of nonprofessional staff (0.30 vs 0.66 per 1,000 full-time equivalent; P = .022). CONCLUSIONS: A hospital-based approach spared our healthcare service from being overloaded. With our multipronged infection control strategy, no nosocomial COVID-19 in was identified among HCWs in the first 300 days of the COVID-19 pandemic in Hong Kong.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Cross Infection , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/prevention & control , Cross Infection/epidemiology , Cross Infection/prevention & control , Health Personnel , Hong Kong/epidemiology , Hospitals , Humans , Infection Control , Pandemics/prevention & control
20.
Infect Control Hosp Epidemiol ; 42(9): 1037-1045, 2021 09.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-962228

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Extensive environmental contamination by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) has been reported in hospitals during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. We report our experience with the practice of directly observed environmental disinfection (DOED) in a community isolation facility (CIF) and a community treatment facility (CTF) in Hong Kong. METHODS: The CIF, with 250 single-room bungalows in a holiday camp, opened on July 24, 2020, to receive step-down patients from hospitals. The CTF, with 500 beds in open cubicles inside a convention hall, was activated on August 1, 2020, to admit newly diagnosed COVID-19 patients from the community. Healthcare workers (HCWs) and cleaning staff received infection control training to reinforce donning and doffing of personal protective equipment and to understand the practice of DOED, in which the cleaning staff observed patient and staff activities and then performed environmental disinfection immediately thereafter. Supervisors also observed cleaning staff to ensure the quality of work. In the CTF, air and environmental samples were collected on days 7, 14, 21, and 28 for SARS-CoV-2 detection by RT-PCR. Patient compliance with mask wearing was also recorded. RESULTS: Of 291 HCWs and 54 cleaning staff who managed 243 patients in the CIF and 674 patients in the CTF from July 24 to August 29, 2020, no one acquired COVID-19. All 24 air samples and 520 environmental samples collected in the patient area of the CTF were negative for SARS-CoV-2. Patient compliance with mask wearing was 100%. CONCLUSION: With appropriate infection control measures, zero environmental contamination and nosocomial transmission of SARS-CoV-2 to HCWs and cleaning staff was achieved.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Disinfection , Health Personnel , Humans , Infection Control , Pandemics , Personal Protective Equipment , SARS-CoV-2
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