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2.
J Public Health Manag Pract ; 28(4): 344-352, 2022.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2051747

ABSTRACT

CONTEXT: Massachusetts' decentralized public health model holds tightly to its founding principle of home rule and a board of health system established in 1799. Consequently, Massachusetts has more local health departments (n = 351) than any other state. During COVID-19, each health department, steeped in centuries of independence, launched its own response to the pandemic. OBJECTIVES: To analyze local public health resources and responses to COVID-19. DESIGN: Semistructured interviews and a survey gathered quantitative and qualitative information about communities' responses and resources before and during the pandemic. Municipality demographics (American Community Survey) served as a proxy for community health literacy. We tracked the frequency and content of local board of health meetings using minutes and agendas; we rated the quality of COVID-19 communications on town Web sites. SETTING: The first 6 months of the COVID-19 pandemic in Massachusetts: March-August 2020. PARTICIPANTS: Health directors and agents in 10 south-central Massachusetts municipalities, identified as the point of contact by the Academic Public Health Corps. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: We measured municipality resources using self-reported budgets, staffing levels, and demographic-based estimates of community health literacy. We identified COVID-19 responses through communities' self-reported efforts, information on town Web sites, and meeting minutes and agendas. RESULTS: Municipalities excelled in communicating with residents, local businesses, and neighboring towns but lacked the staffing and funding for an efficient and coordinated response. On average, municipal budgets ranged from $5 to $16 per capita, and COVID-19 consumed 75% of health department staff time. All respondents noted extreme workload increases. While municipal Web sites received high scores for Accurate Information, other categories (Navigability; Timeliness; Information Present) were less than 50%. CONCLUSIONS: Increased support for regionalization and sustained public health funding would improve local health responses during complex emergencies in states with local public health administration.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , COVID-19/epidemiology , Communication , Humans , Massachusetts/epidemiology , Pandemics , Public Health , Public Health Administration
3.
J Am Geriatr Soc ; 70(11): 3273-3280, 2022 Nov.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1968152

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: During the deadly 2020 SARS-CoV-2 surge in nursing homes (NHs), Massachusetts (MA) initiated a multicomponent infection control intervention to mitigate its spread. METHODS: We aimed to assess the intervention's impact by comparing the weekly risk of PCR-confirmed infections among MA NH residents to those in neighboring New England states, all managed similarly by a single NH provider. We studied 2085 residents in 20 MA NHs and 4493 residents in 45 comparator facilities. The intervention included: (1) A 28-item infection control checklist of best practices, (2) incentive payments to NHs contingent on scoring ≥24 on the checklist, meeting 6 core competencies, testing residents and staff for SARS-COV-2 RNA, uploading data, and enabling virtual visits; (3) on-site and virtual infection control consultations for deficient facilities; (4) 6 weekly webinars; (5) continuous communication with the MA Department of Public Health; and (6) access to personal protective equipment, temporary staff, and SARS-CoV-2 testing. Weekly rates of infection were adjusted for county COVID-19 prevalence. RESULTS: The adjusted risk of infection started higher in MA, but declined more rapidly in its NHs compared to similarly managed facilities in other states. The decline in infection risk during the early intervention period was 53% greater in MA than in Comparator States (state-by-time interaction HR = 0.47; 95% CI 0.37-0.59). By the late intervention period, the risk of infection continued to decline in both groups, and the change from baseline in MA was marginally greater than that in the Comparator States (interaction HR 0.80; 95% CI 0.64-1.00). CONCLUSIONS: The MA NH intervention was associated with a more rapid reduction in the rate of SARS-CoV-2 infections compared to similarly managed NHs in neighboring states. Although several unmeasured factors may have confounded our results, implementation of the MA model may help rapidly reduce high rates of infection and prevent future COVID-19 surges in NHs.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Humans , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/prevention & control , SARS-CoV-2 , COVID-19 Testing , RNA, Viral , Nursing Homes , Infection Control/methods , Massachusetts/epidemiology
4.
Subst Abus ; 43(1): 1317-1321, 2022 12.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1960702

ABSTRACT

Background: Racial, sex, and age disparities in buprenorphine treatment have previously been demonstrated. We evaluated trends in buprenorphine treatment disparities before and after the onset of the COVID pandemic in Massachusetts. Methods: This cross-sectional study used data from an integrated health system comparing 12-months before and after the March 2020 Massachusetts COVID state of emergency declaration, excluding March as a washout period. Among patients with a clinical encounter during the study periods with a diagnosis of opioid use disorder or opioid poisoning, we extracted outpatient buprenorphine prescription rates by age, sex, race and ethnicity, and language. Generating univariable and multivariable Poisson regression models, we calculated the probability of receiving buprenorphine. Results: Among 4,530 patients seen in the period before the COVID emergency declaration, 57.9% received buprenorphine. Among 3,653 patients seen in the second time period, 55.1% received buprenorphine. Younger patients (<24) had a lower likelihood of receiving buprenorphine in both time periods (adjusted prevalence ratio (aPR), 0.56; 95% CI, 0.42-0.75 before vs. aPR, 0.76; 95% CI, 0.60-0.96 after). Male patients had a greater likelihood of receiving buprenorphine compared to female patients in both time periods (aPR: 1.05; 95% CI, 1.00-1.11 vs. aPR: 1.09; 95% CI, 1.02-1.16). Racial disparities emerged in the time period following the COVID pandemic, with non-Hispanic Black patients having a lower likelihood of receiving buprenorphine compared to non-Hispanic white patients in the second time period (aPR, 0.85; 95% CI, 0.72-0.99). Conclusions: Following the onset of the COVID pandemic in Massachusetts, ongoing racial, age, and gender disparities were evident in buprenorphine treatment with younger, Black, and female patients less likely to be treated with buprenorphine across an integrated health system.


Subject(s)
Buprenorphine , COVID-19 , Buprenorphine/therapeutic use , Cross-Sectional Studies , Female , Humans , Male , Massachusetts/epidemiology , Pandemics
5.
Front Public Health ; 10: 862388, 2022.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1952798

ABSTRACT

Early life adversity can significantly impact child development and health outcomes throughout the life course. With the COVID-19 pandemic exacerbating preexisting and introducing new sources of toxic stress, social programs that foster resilience are more necessary now than ever. The Helping Us Grow Stronger (HUGS/Abrazos) program fills a crucial need for protective buffers during the COVID-19 pandemic, which has escalated toxic stressors affecting pregnant women and families with young children. HUGS/Abrazos combines patient navigation, behavioral health support, and innovative tools to ameliorate these heightened toxic stressors. We used a mixed-methods approach, guided by the Reach, Effectiveness, Adoption, Implementation, and Maintenance (RE-AIM) framework, to evaluate the implementation of the HUGS/Abrazos program at Massachusetts General Hospital from 6/30/2020-8/31/2021. Results of the quality improvement evaluation revealed that the program was widely adopted across the hospital and 392 unique families were referred to the program. The referred patients were representative of the communities in Massachusetts disproportionately affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Furthermore, 79% of referred patients followed up with the initial referral, with sustained high participation rates throughout the program course; and they were provided with an average of four community resource referrals. Adoption and implementation of the key components in HUGS/Abrazos were found to be appropriate and acceptable. Furthermore, the implemented program remained consistent to the original design. Overall, HUGS/Abrazos was well adopted as an emergency relief program with strong post-COVID-19 applicability to ameliorate continuing toxic stressors while decreasing burden on the health system.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , COVID-19/epidemiology , Child , Child, Preschool , Female , Humans , Massachusetts/epidemiology , Pandemics , Pregnancy , Quality Improvement
8.
Am J Ind Med ; 65(7): 556-566, 2022 07.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1843845

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Incidence of drug poisoning deaths has increased during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. Previous research has established that risks differ for drug poisoning death according to occupation, and that workers also have a different risk for exposure to and death from COVID-19. This study sought to determine whether workers in certain occupations had drug poisoning mortality rates that increased in 2020 (the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic) compared to the average mortality rate for workers in those occupations during the previous 3 years. METHODS: Death certificates of Massachusetts residents who died from drug poisonings in 2017-2020 were obtained. Average mortality rates of drug poisoning according to occupation during the 2017-2019 period were compared to mortality rates in 2020. RESULTS: Between the 2017-2019 period and 2020, mortality rates of drug poisoning increased significantly for workers in three occupational groups: food preparation and serving; healthcare support; and transportation and material moving. In these occupations, most of the increases in 2020 compared to 2017-2019 occurred in months after COVID-19 pandemic cases and deaths increased in Massachusetts. CONCLUSION: Mortality rates from drug poisonings increased substantially in several occupations in 2020 compared to previous years. Further research should examine the role of occupational factors in this increase in drug poisoning mortality rates during the COVID-19 pandemic. Particular attention should be given to determine the role that exposure to severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2, work stress, and financial stress due to job insecurity played in these increases.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Poisoning , Humans , Massachusetts/epidemiology , Occupations , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2
9.
Contemp Clin Trials ; 118: 106783, 2022 07.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1821167

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Community Health Centers (CHCs) are a critical source of care for low-income and non-privately insured populations. During the pandemic, CHCs have leveraged their infrastructure and role as a trusted source of care to engage the communities they serve in COVID-19 testing. METHODS: To directly address the impact that COVID-19 has had on historically marginalized populations in Massachusetts, we designed a study of community-engaged COVID-19 testing expansion: (1) leveraging existing partnerships to accelerate COVID-19 testing and rapidly disseminate effective implementation strategies; (2) incorporating efforts to address key barriers to testing participation in communities at increased risk for COVID-19; (3) further developing partnerships between communities and CHCs to address testing access and disparities; (4) grounding the study in the development of a shared ethical framework for advancing equity in situations of scarcity; and (5) developing mechanisms for communication and science translation to support community outreach. We use a controlled interrupted time series design, comparing number of COVID-19 tests overall and among people identified as members of high-risk groups served by intervention CHCs compared with six matched control CHCs in Massachusetts, followed by a stepped wedge design to pilot test strategies for tailored outreach by CHCs. CONCLUSIONS: Here, we describe a community-partnered strategy to accelerate COVID-19 testing in historically marginalized populations that provides ongoing resources to CHCs for addressing testing needs in their communities. The study aligns with principles of community-engaged research including shared leadership, adequate resources for community partners, and the flexibility to respond to changing needs over time.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 Testing , COVID-19 , COVID-19/diagnosis , Community Health Centers , Humans , Interrupted Time Series Analysis , Massachusetts/epidemiology
10.
Clin Infect Dis ; 75(1): e611-e616, 2022 08 24.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1816033

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has disproportionately affected more socioeconomically disadvantaged persons and areas. We sought to determine how certain sociodemographic factors were correlated to adolescents' COVID-19 vaccination rates in towns and cities ("communities") in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. METHODS: Data on COVID-19 vaccination rates were obtained over a 20-week period from 30 March 2021 to 10 August 2021. Communities' adolescent (ages 12-19) vaccination rates were compared across quintiles of community-level income, COVID-19 case rate, and proportion of non-Hispanic Black or Hispanic individuals. Other variables included population density and earlier COVID-19 vaccination rates of adolescents and adults, averaged from 30 March to 11 May to determine their effects on vaccination rates on 10 August. Linear and logistic regression was used to estimate individual effects of variables on adolescent vaccination rates. RESULTS: Higher median household income, lower proportion of Black or Hispanic individuals, higher early adolescent COVID-19 vaccination rates, and higher early adult COVID-19 vaccination rates were associated with higher later adolescent COVID-19 vaccination rates. Income per $10 000 (adjusted odds ratio [aOR] = 1.01 [95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.01-1.02]), proportion of Hispanic individuals (aOR = 1.33 [95% CI: 1.13-1.56]), early adolescent COVID-19 vaccination rates (aOR = 5.28 [95% CI: 4.67-5.96]), and early adult COVID-19 vaccination rates (aOR = 2.31 [95% CI: 2.02-2.64]) were associated with higher adolescent COVID-19 vaccination on 10 August, whereas proportion of Black individuals approached significance (aOR = 1.26 [95% CI: .98-1.61]). CONCLUSIONS: Vaccination efforts for adolescents in Massachusetts should focus on boosting vaccination rates early in communities with the lowest incomes and greatest proportion of Hispanic individuals and consider targeting communities with a greater proportion of Black individuals.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Adolescent , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/prevention & control , COVID-19 Vaccines , Child , Cross-Sectional Studies , Humans , Massachusetts/epidemiology , Vaccination , Young Adult
11.
Behav Res Ther ; 154: 104102, 2022 07.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1814175

ABSTRACT

Trajectory studies of the COVID-19 pandemic have described patterns of symptoms over time. Yet, few have examined whether social determinants of health predict the progression of depression and anxiety symptoms during COVID-19 or identified which social determinants worsen symptom trajectories. Using a racially, ethnically, and linguistically diverse sample of adults participating in a randomized clinical trial with pre-existing moderate to severe depression and/or anxiety symptoms, we compare symptom patterns before and during COVID-19; characterize symptom trajectories over a 20-week follow-up period; and evaluate whether social determinants are associated with within- and between- person differences in symptom trajectories. Data were collected before and during COVID-19 in Massachusetts and North Carolina. On average, depression and anxiety symptoms did not seem to worsen during the pandemic compared to pre-pandemic. During COVID-19, anxiety scores at follow-up were higher for participants with baseline food insecurity (vs no food insecurity). Depression scores at follow-up were higher for participants with food insecurity and for those with utilities insecurity (vs no insecurity). Participants with child or family care responsibilities at baseline had depression symptoms decreasing at a slower rate than those without these responsibilities. We discuss the important implications of these findings.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Adult , Anxiety/diagnosis , Child , Depression/diagnosis , Humans , Longitudinal Studies , Massachusetts/epidemiology , North Carolina/epidemiology , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2 , Social Determinants of Health
12.
Public Health Rep ; 137(4): 782-789, 2022.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1807859

ABSTRACT

OBJECTIVES: Pregnant people infected with SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, are at increased risk for severe illness and death compared with nonpregnant people. However, population-based information comparing characteristics of people with and without laboratory-confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection during pregnancy is limited. We compared the characteristics of people with and without SARS-CoV-2 infection during pregnancy in Massachusetts. METHODS: We compared maternal demographic characteristics, pre-pregnancy conditions, and pregnancy complications of people with and without SARS-CoV-2 infection during pregnancy with completed pregnancies resulting in a live birth in Massachusetts during March 1, 2020-March 31, 2021. We tested for significant differences in the distribution of characteristics of pregnant people by SARS-CoV-2 infection status overall and stratified by race and ethnicity. We used modified Poisson regression analyses to examine the association between race and ethnicity and SARS-CoV-2 infection during pregnancy. RESULTS: Of 69 960 completed pregnancies identified during the study period, 3119 (4.5%) had laboratory-confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection during pregnancy. Risk for SARS-CoV-2 infection was higher among Hispanic (adjusted risk ratio [aRR] = 2.3; 95% CI, 2.1-2.6) and non-Hispanic Black (aRR = 1.9; 95% CI, 1.7-2.1) pregnant people compared with non-Hispanic White pregnant people. CONCLUSIONS: This study demonstrates the disproportionate impact of SARS-CoV-2 infection on Hispanic and non-Hispanic Black pregnant people in Massachusetts, which may widen existent inequities in maternal morbidity and mortality. Future research is needed to elucidate the structural factors leading to these inequities.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Pregnancy Complications, Infectious , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19 Testing , Female , Humans , Laboratories , Massachusetts/epidemiology , Pregnancy , Pregnancy Complications, Infectious/epidemiology , SARS-CoV-2
13.
J Am Coll Surg ; 234(2): 191-202, 2022 Feb 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1713819

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Surgical patients with limited digital literacy may experience reduced telemedicine access. We investigated racial/ethnic and socioeconomic disparities in telemedicine compared with in-person surgical consultation during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. STUDY DESIGN: Retrospective analysis of new visits within the Division of General & Gastrointestinal Surgery at an academic medical center occurring between March 24 through June 23, 2020 (Phase I, Massachusetts Public Health Emergency) and June 24 through December 31, 2020 (Phase II, relaxation of restrictions on healthcare operations) was performed. Visit modality (telemedicine/phone vs in-person) and demographic data were extracted. Bivariate analysis and multivariable logistic regression were performed to evaluate associations between patient characteristics and visit modality. RESULTS: During Phase I, 347 in-person and 638 virtual visits were completed. Multivariable modeling demonstrated no significant differences in virtual compared with in-person visit use across racial/ethnic or insurance groups. Among patients using virtual visits, Latinx patients were less likely to have video compared with audio-only visits than White patients (OR, 0.46; 95% CI 0.22-0.96). Black race and insurance type were not significant predictors of video use. During Phase II, 2,922 in-person and 1,001 virtual visits were completed. Multivariable modeling demonstrated that Black patients (OR, 1.52; 95% CI 1.12-2.06) were more likely to have virtual visits than White patients. No significant differences were observed across insurance types. Among patients using virtual visits, race/ethnicity and insurance type were not significant predictors of video use. CONCLUSION: Black patients used telemedicine platforms more often than White patients during the second phase of the COVID-19 pandemic. Virtual consultation may help increase access to surgical care among traditionally under-resourced populations.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/epidemiology , General Surgery/statistics & numerical data , Office Visits/statistics & numerical data , Pandemics , Telemedicine/statistics & numerical data , Adult , Aged , Ambulatory Surgical Procedures , Computer Literacy , Ethnicity/statistics & numerical data , Female , Health Services Accessibility/statistics & numerical data , Humans , Insurance Coverage/statistics & numerical data , Logistic Models , Male , Massachusetts/epidemiology , Middle Aged , Public Health , Racial Groups/statistics & numerical data , Retrospective Studies , Socioeconomic Factors , Telephone/statistics & numerical data
14.
J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci ; 77(7): 1361-1365, 2022 07 05.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1672194

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Nursing home (NH) residents, especially those who were Black or with dementia, had the highest infection rates during the COVID-19 pandemic. A 9-week COVID-19 infection control intervention in 360 Massachusetts NHs showed adherence to an infection control checklist with proper personal protective equipment (PPE) use and cohorting was associated with declines in weekly infection rates. NHs were offered weekly webinars, answers to infection control questions, resources to acquire PPE, backup staff, and SARS-CoV-2 testing. We asked whether the effect of this intervention differed by racial and dementia composition of the NHs. METHODS: Data were obtained from 4 state audits using infection control checklists, weekly infection rates, and Minimum Data Set variables on race and dementia to determine whether adherence to checklist competencies was associated with decline in average weekly rates of new COVID-19 infections. RESULTS: Using a mixed-effects hurdle model, adjusted for county COVID-19 prevalence, we found the overall effect of the intervention did not differ by racial composition, but proper cohorting of residents was associated with a greater reduction in infection rates among facilities with ≥20% non-Whites (n = 83). Facilities in the middle (>50%-62%; n = 121) and upper (>62%; n = 115) tertiles of dementia prevalence had the largest reduction in infection rates as checklist scores improved. Cohorting was associated with greater reductions in infection rates among facilities in the middle and upper tertiles of dementia prevalence. CONCLUSIONS: Adherence to proper infection control procedures, particularly cohorting of residents, can reduce COVID-19 infections, even in facilities with high percentages of high-risk residents (non-White and dementia).


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Dementia , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/prevention & control , COVID-19 Testing , Dementia/epidemiology , Dementia/prevention & control , Humans , Infection Control/methods , Massachusetts/epidemiology , Nursing Homes , Pandemics/prevention & control , Prevalence , SARS-CoV-2
15.
Int J Environ Res Public Health ; 19(3)2022 01 25.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1648893

ABSTRACT

Critical temporal changes such as weekly fluctuations in surveillance systems often reflect changes in laboratory testing capacity, access to testing or healthcare facilities, or testing preferences. Many studies have noted but few have described day-of-the-week (DoW) effects in SARS-CoV-2 surveillance over the major waves of the novel coronavirus 2019 pandemic (COVID-19). We examined DoW effects by non-pharmaceutical intervention phases adjusting for wave-specific signatures using the John Hopkins University's (JHU's) Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) COVID-19 data repository from 2 March 2020 through 7 November 2021 in Middlesex County, Massachusetts, USA. We cross-referenced JHU's data with Massachusetts Department of Public Health (MDPH) COVID-19 records to reconcile inconsistent reporting. We created a calendar of statewide non-pharmaceutical intervention phases and defined the critical periods and timepoints of outbreak signatures for reported tests, cases, and deaths using Kolmogorov-Zurbenko adaptive filters. We determined that daily death counts had no DoW effects; tests were twice as likely to be reported on weekdays than weekends with decreasing effect sizes across intervention phases. Cases were also twice as likely to be reported on Tuesdays-Fridays (RR = 1.90-2.69 [95%CI: 1.38-4.08]) in the most stringent phases and half as likely to be reported on Mondays and Tuesdays (RR = 0.51-0.93 [0.44, 0.97]) in less stringent phases compared to Sundays; indicating temporal changes in laboratory testing practices and use of healthcare facilities. Understanding the DoW effects in daily surveillance records is valuable to better anticipate fluctuations in SARS-CoV-2 testing and manage appropriate workflow. We encourage health authorities to establish standardized reporting protocols.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , COVID-19 Testing , Humans , Massachusetts/epidemiology , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2
16.
Cell ; 185(3): 485-492.e10, 2022 02 03.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1588148

ABSTRACT

An outbreak of over 1,000 COVID-19 cases in Provincetown, Massachusetts (MA), in July 2021-the first large outbreak mostly in vaccinated individuals in the US-prompted a comprehensive public health response, motivating changes to national masking recommendations and raising questions about infection and transmission among vaccinated individuals. To address these questions, we combined viral genomic and epidemiological data from 467 individuals, including 40% of outbreak-associated cases. The Delta variant accounted for 99% of cases in this dataset; it was introduced from at least 40 sources, but 83% of cases derived from a single source, likely through transmission across multiple settings over a short time rather than a single event. Genomic and epidemiological data supported multiple transmissions of Delta from and between fully vaccinated individuals. However, despite its magnitude, the outbreak had limited onward impact in MA and the US overall, likely due to high vaccination rates and a robust public health response.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/immunology , COVID-19/transmission , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Adolescent , Adult , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , COVID-19/virology , Child , Child, Preschool , Contact Tracing/methods , Disease Outbreaks , Female , Genome, Viral , Humans , Infant , Infant, Newborn , Male , Massachusetts/epidemiology , Middle Aged , Molecular Epidemiology , Phylogeny , SARS-CoV-2/classification , Vaccination , Whole Genome Sequencing , Young Adult
17.
BMC Infect Dis ; 21(1): 686, 2021 Jul 16.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1571742

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Associations between community-level risk factors and COVID-19 incidence have been used to identify vulnerable subpopulations and target interventions, but the variability of these associations over time remains largely unknown. We evaluated variability in the associations between community-level predictors and COVID-19 case incidence in 351 cities and towns in Massachusetts from March to October 2020. METHODS: Using publicly available sociodemographic, occupational, environmental, and mobility datasets, we developed mixed-effect, adjusted Poisson regression models to depict associations between these variables and town-level COVID-19 case incidence data across five distinct time periods from March to October 2020. We examined town-level demographic variables, including population proportions by race, ethnicity, and age, as well as factors related to occupation, housing density, economic vulnerability, air pollution (PM2.5), and institutional facilities. We calculated incidence rate ratios (IRR) associated with these predictors and compared these values across the multiple time periods to assess variability in the observed associations over time. RESULTS: Associations between key predictor variables and town-level incidence varied across the five time periods. We observed reductions over time in the association with percentage of Black residents (IRR = 1.12 [95%CI: 1.12-1.13]) in early spring, IRR = 1.01 [95%CI: 1.00-1.01] in early fall) and COVID-19 incidence. The association with number of long-term care facility beds per capita also decreased over time (IRR = 1.28 [95%CI: 1.26-1.31] in spring, IRR = 1.07 [95%CI: 1.05-1.09] in fall). Controlling for other factors, towns with higher percentages of essential workers experienced elevated incidences of COVID-19 throughout the pandemic (e.g., IRR = 1.30 [95%CI: 1.27-1.33] in spring, IRR = 1.20 [95%CI: 1.17-1.22] in fall). Towns with higher proportions of Latinx residents also had sustained elevated incidence over time (IRR = 1.19 [95%CI: 1.18-1.21] in spring, IRR = 1.14 [95%CI: 1.13-1.15] in fall). CONCLUSIONS: Town-level COVID-19 risk factors varied with time in this study. In Massachusetts, racial (but not ethnic) disparities in COVID-19 incidence may have decreased across the first 8 months of the pandemic, perhaps indicating greater success in risk mitigation in selected communities. Our approach can be used to evaluate effectiveness of public health interventions and target specific mitigation efforts on the community level.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/epidemiology , Occupations/statistics & numerical data , Social Environment , Transportation/statistics & numerical data , Adult , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , COVID-19/ethnology , Female , Health Status Disparities , Humans , Incidence , Income/statistics & numerical data , Male , Massachusetts/epidemiology , Middle Aged , Movement/physiology , Pandemics , Residence Characteristics/statistics & numerical data , Risk Factors , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , Socioeconomic Factors , Time Factors , Vulnerable Populations/ethnology , Vulnerable Populations/statistics & numerical data , Young Adult
19.
Influenza Other Respir Viruses ; 16(2): 213-221, 2022 03.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1511324

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the need for targeted local interventions given substantial heterogeneity within cities and counties. Publicly available case data are typically aggregated to the city or county level to protect patient privacy, but more granular data are necessary to identify and act upon community-level risk factors that can change over time. METHODS: Individual COVID-19 case and mortality data from Massachusetts were geocoded to residential addresses and aggregated into two time periods: "Phase 1" (March-June 2020) and "Phase 2" (September 2020 to February 2021). Institutional cases associated with long-term care facilities, prisons, or homeless shelters were identified using address data and modeled separately. Census tract sociodemographic and occupational predictors were drawn from the 2015-2019 American Community Survey. We used mixed-effects negative binomial regression to estimate incidence rate ratios (IRRs), accounting for town-level spatial autocorrelation. RESULTS: Case incidence was elevated in census tracts with higher proportions of Black and Latinx residents, with larger associations in Phase 1 than Phase 2. Case incidence associated with proportion of essential workers was similarly elevated in both Phases. Mortality IRRs had differing patterns from case IRRs, decreasing less substantially between Phases for Black and Latinx populations and increasing between Phases for proportion of essential workers. Mortality models excluding institutional cases yielded stronger associations for age, race/ethnicity, and essential worker status. CONCLUSIONS: Geocoded home address data can allow for nuanced analyses of community disease patterns, identification of high-risk subgroups, and exclusion of institutional cases to comprehensively reflect community risk.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Health Status Disparities , Humans , Massachusetts/epidemiology , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2
20.
Public Health Rep ; 137(5): 936-943, 2022.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1410772

ABSTRACT

OBJECTIVES: Influenza infects millions of people each year and contributes to tens of thousands of deaths annually despite the availability of vaccines. People most at risk of influenza complications are disproportionately represented in people incarcerated in US prisons and jails. The objectives of this study were to survey health administrators in Massachusetts county jails about institutional influenza vaccine policies and practices and estimate influenza vaccination rates in Massachusetts jails from 2013 to 2020. METHODS: In April 2020, we administered surveys to the health services administrators in Massachusetts' 14 county jails to gather information about influenza vaccination policies and delivery practices. To calculate influenza vaccination rates for each facility, we obtained data on influenza vaccine orders from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health for each county in Massachusetts for influenza seasons 2013-2020. We calculated summary statistics for each reporting facility and each year, conducted a Kruskal-Wallis analysis to compare vaccination rates between years, and used a linear regression model to identify predictors of vaccination rates. RESULTS: Influenza vaccination rates in Massachusetts jails ranged from 1.9% to 11.8%. We found no significant differences in vaccination rates between years. Influenza vaccine ordering and delivery practices varied by jail, and respondents had high levels of confidence in influenza policies and vaccine delivery practices. CONCLUSIONS: Influenza vaccination rates in Massachusetts jails are low, and delivery practices in jails vary. Lack of influenza vaccinations in jails is a gap in health care that needs to be prioritized, especially considering the current COVID-19 pandemic. Further investigations for effective and equitable vaccination in this population should involve people who are incarcerated and people who make influenza vaccine policies in jails.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Influenza Vaccines , Influenza, Human , Humans , Influenza, Human/epidemiology , Influenza, Human/prevention & control , Jails , Massachusetts/epidemiology , Pandemics/prevention & control , Surveys and Questionnaires , Vaccination
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