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Infect Control Hosp Epidemiol ; : 1-7, 2022 Feb 22.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1721301


OBJECTIVE: To investigate a cluster of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infections in employees working on 1 floor of a hospital administration building. METHODS: Contact tracing was performed to identify potential exposures and all employees were tested for SARS-CoV-2. Whole-genome sequencing was performed to determine the relatedness of SARS-CoV-2 samples from infected personnel and from control cases in the healthcare system with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) during the same period. Carbon dioxide levels were measured during a workday to assess adequacy of ventilation; readings >800 parts per million (ppm) were considered an indication of suboptimal ventilation. To assess the potential for airborne transmission, DNA-barcoded aerosols were released, and real-time polymerase chain reaction was used to quantify particles recovered from air samples in multiple locations. RESULTS: Between December 22, 2020, and January 8, 2021, 17 coworkers tested positive for SARS-CoV-2, including 13 symptomatic and 4 asymptomatic individuals. Of the 5 cluster SARS-CoV-2 samples sequenced, 3 were genetically related, but these employees denied higher-risk contacts with one another. None of the sequences from the cluster were genetically related to the 17 control sequences of SARS-CoV-2. Carbon dioxide levels increased during a workday but never exceeded 800 ppm. DNA-barcoded aerosol particles were dispersed from the sites of release to locations throughout the floor; 20% of air samples had >1 log10 particles. CONCLUSIONS: In a hospital administration building outbreak, sequencing of SARS-CoV-2 confirmed transmission among coworkers. Transmission occurred despite the absence of higher-risk exposures and in a setting with adequate ventilation based on monitoring of carbon dioxide levels.

Clin Infect Dis ; 74(2): 339-342, 2022 01 29.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1722257


We report 2 episodes of potential SARS-CoV-2 transmission from infected van drivers to passengers despite masking and physical distancing. Whole-genome sequencing confirmed relatedness of driver and passenger SARS-CoV-2. With the heater operating, fluorescent microspheres were transported by airflow >3 meters from the front to the back of the van.

COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Humans , Physical Distancing , Whole Genome Sequencing
Pathog Immun ; 6(1): 135-156, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1346785


In this review, we summarize the current status of nucleic acid and antigen testing required for diagnosing SARS-CoV-2 infection and COVID-19 disease. Nucleic acid amplification (NAAT) and antigen-detection (Ag) tests occupy a critically important frontline of defense against SARS-CoV-2 in clinical and public health settings. In early stages of this outbreak, we observed that identifying the causative agent of a new illness of unknown origin was greatly accelerated by characterizing the nucleic acid signature of the novel coronavirus. Results from nucleic acid sequencing led to the development of highly sensitive RT-PCR testing for use in clinical settings and to informing best practices for patient care, and in public health settings to the development of strategies for protecting populations. As the current COVID-19 pandemic has evolved, we have seen how NAAT performance has been used to guide and optimize specimen collection, inform patient triage decisions, reveal unexpected clinical symptoms, clarify risks of transmission within patient care facilities, and guide appropriate treatment strategies. For public health settings during the earliest stages of the pandemic, NAATs served as the only tool available for studying the epidemiology of this new disease by identifying infected individuals, studying transmission patterns, modeling population impacts, and enabling disease control organizations and governments to make challenging disease mitigation recommendations to protect the expanding breadth of populations at risk. With time, the nucleic acid signature has provided the information necessary to understand SARS-CoV-2 protein expression for further development of antigen-based point-of-care (POC) diagnostic tests. The advent of massive parallel sequencing (ie, next generation sequencing) has afforded the characterization of this novel pathogen, informed the sequences best adapted for RT-PCR assays, guided vaccine production, and is currently used for tracking and monitoring SARS-CoV-2 variants.

Infect Control Hosp Epidemiol ; : 1-3, 2021 May 04.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1213894


Several recent reports have raised concern that infected coworkers may be an important source of severe acute respiratory coronavirus virus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) acquisition by healthcare personnel. In a suspected outbreak among emergency department personnel, sequencing of SARS-CoV-2 confirmed transmission among coworkers. The suspected 6-person outbreak included 2 distinct transmission clusters and 1 unrelated infection.