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1.
Med Sci Monit ; 27: e935496, 2021 Dec 21.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1599426

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND The COVID-19 pandemic can affect the elderly population's general health. This study aimed to compare the effects of a remote home-based exercise program to improve the mental state, balance, and physical function and to prevent falls in adults aged 65 years and older during the COVID-19 pandemic in Seoul, Korea. MATERIAL AND METHODS Seventy participants were randomly assigned to an experimental group of 35 participants who underwent a remote home-based fall prevention exercise program and a control group of 35 participants. The experimental group performed an exercise program twice weekly for 8 weeks from June 2 to July 21, 2021. The Geriatric Depression Scale, 5 times sit to stand test, grip strength, 10-m walk test, gait analysis, Timed Up and Go test, and static balance test were assessed before and after the 8-week program. RESULTS The group-by-time interaction effect was statistically significant for the Geriatric Depression Scale, five times sit to stand test, grip strength, 10-meter walk, gait speed, step length, stride length, Timed Up and Go test, and static balance test (P<0.05). Compared with the control group, the experimental group showed a significant effect in all dependent variables except dynamic balance (P<0.05). CONCLUSIONS In this population, the remote home-based fall prevention exercise program resulted in a significant improvement in physical function, psychological factors, and balance during the COVID-19 pandemic. The findings may have implications for community public health measures to protect the vulnerable during future epidemics and pandemics of infectious disease.


Subject(s)
Accidental Falls/prevention & control , Telemedicine , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , COVID-19/epidemiology , Exercise , Exercise Therapy , Female , Geriatric Assessment , Hand Strength , Health Services for the Aged , Humans , Male , Postural Balance , Seoul/epidemiology , Walking Speed
2.
Int J Environ Res Public Health ; 18(23)2021 11 29.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1542553

ABSTRACT

The Seoul metropolitan area is one of the most populated metropolitan areas in the world; hence, Seoul's COVID-19 cases are highly concentrated. This study identified local demographic and socio-economic characteristics that affected SARS-CoV-2 transmission to provide locally targeted intervention policies. For the effective control of outbreaks, locally targeted intervention policies are required since the SARS-CoV-2 transmission process is heterogeneous over space. To identify the local COVID-19 characteristics, this study applied the geographically weighted lasso (GWL). GWL provides local regression coefficients, which were used to account for the spatial heterogeneity of SARS-CoV-2 outbreaks. In particular, the GWL pinpoints statistically significant regions with specific local characteristics. The applied explanatory variables involving demographic and socio-economic characteristics that were associated with higher SARS-CoV-2 transmission in the Seoul metropolitan area were as follows: young adults (19~34 years), older population, Christian population, foreign-born population, low-income households, and subway commuters. The COVID-19 case data were classified into three periods: the first period (from January 2020 to July 2021), the second period (from August to November 2020), and the third period (from December 2020 to February 2021), and the GWL was fitted for the entire period (from January 2020 to February 2021). The result showed that young adults, the Christian population, and subway commuters were the most significant local characteristics that influenced SARS-CoV-2 transmissions in the Seoul metropolitan area.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Disease Outbreaks , Humans , Republic of Korea/epidemiology , Seoul/epidemiology , Young Adult
3.
J Korean Med Sci ; 36(45): e302, 2021 Nov 22.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1528808

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: To facilitate evidence-based policy-making on safe reopening of higher education facilities, there is an urgent need to assess baseline profile of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) incidents within the university/college settings. We aimed to describe the epidemiology of COVID-19 in universities/colleges in Seoul Metropolitan Area during COVID-19 pandemic period. METHODS: Among the 38 universities in Seoul, 23 have agreed to participate in the study. Confirmed COVID-19 cases were identified from individual-level case reports submitted to the universities and to the health authorities from February 1, 2020, to June 30, 2021. Through the linkage with the Central Disease Control Headquarters' database, number of secondary infected cases (both within and outside of the campus) were counted. RESULTS: Between February 2020 and June 2021, a total of 827 COVID-19 cases were confirmed and reported in the universities across Seoul Metropolitan City. Generally, the community-associated cases had peaks preceding the university/college-associated. Of those with the documented clinical parameters, 38.6% of the cases were asymptomatic. Among them, 93% were potentially exposed off-campus, and 87.7% of the cases had not produced the secondary infection cases. CONCLUSION: In the setting of rigorous infection prevention measures in combination with on- and off- hybrid classes, COVID-19 incidences and outbreaks were limited in university and college campus area across Seoul Metropolitan Area. The evidence around the infection preventive measures in higher education facilities in Seoul Metropolitan Area, suggest insignificant impact on community transmission.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/epidemiology , SARS-CoV-2 , Adolescent , Adult , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , Child , Female , Humans , Incidence , Male , Middle Aged , Seoul/epidemiology , Universities , Young Adult
4.
Indoor Air ; 32(1): e12959, 2022 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1528381

ABSTRACT

Despite the prolonged global spread of COVID-19, few studies have investigated the environmental influence on the spread of SARS-CoV-2 RNA with a metropolitan scale, particularly the detection of SARS-CoV-2 after disinfection at multi-use facilities. Between February 2020 and January 2021, 1,769 indoor air samples and object surfaces were tested at 231 multi-use facilities where confirmed cases were known to have occurred in Seoul, to determine whether SARS-CoV-2 RNA could be detected even after disinfection. Samples were collected by air scanner and swab pipette and detected by real-time RT-PCR. As a result, 10 (0.56%) positive samples were detected despite disinfection. The common environmental features of all 10 were surfaces that contained moisture and windowless buildings. With the aim of preventing the spread of COVID-19, from January to February 2021, we next conducted 643 preemptive tests before the outbreak of infections at 22 multi-use facilities where cluster infections were frequent. From these preemptive inspections, we obtained five (0.78%) positive results from two facilities, which enabled us to disinfect the buildings and give all the users a COVID-19 test. Based on the study purpose of finding and investigating cases of positive detection even after disinfection in the field through long-term environmental detection in a large city, our preemptive investigation results helped to prevent the spread of infectious diseases by confirming the potential existence of an asymptomatic patient.


Subject(s)
Air Microbiology , Air Pollution, Indoor , COVID-19 , COVID-19/prevention & control , COVID-19/transmission , Humans , SARS-CoV-2 , Seoul/epidemiology
5.
Environ Res ; 203: 111810, 2022 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1351644

ABSTRACT

With a recent surge of the new severe acute respiratory syndrome-coronavirus 2 (SARS-Cov-2, COVID-19) in South Korea, this study attempts to investigate the effects of environmental conditions such as air pollutants (PM2.5) and meteorological covariate (Temperature) on COVID-19 transmission in Seoul. To account for unobserved heterogeneity in the daily confirmed cases of COVID-19 across 25 contiguous districts within Seoul, we adopt a full Bayesian hierarchical approach for the generalized linear mixed models. A formal statistical analysis suggests that there exists a positive correlation between a 7-day lagged effect of PM2.5 concentration and the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases, which implies an elevated risk of the infectious disease. Conversely, temperature has shown a negative correlation with the number of COVID-19 cases, leading to reduction in relative risks. In addition, we clarify that the random fluctuation in the relative risks of COVID-19 mainly originates from temporal aspects, whereas no significant evidence of variability in relative risks is observed in terms of spatial alignment of the 25 districts. Nevertheless, this study provides empirical evidence using model-based formal assessments regarding COVID-19 infection risks in 25 districts of Seoul from a different perspective.


Subject(s)
Air Pollutants , Air Pollution , COVID-19 , Air Pollutants/adverse effects , Air Pollutants/analysis , Air Pollution/analysis , Bayes Theorem , Humans , Particulate Matter/analysis , Republic of Korea/epidemiology , SARS-CoV-2 , Seoul/epidemiology , Temperature
6.
Int J Infect Dis ; 106: 363-369, 2021 May.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1279590

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: The complete contact tracing of coronavirus disease-19 (COVID-19) cases in South Korea allows a unique opportunity to investigate cluster characteristics. This study aimed to investigate all reported COVID-19 clusters in the Seoul metropolitan area from January 23 to September 24, 2020. METHODS: Publicly available COVID-19 data was collected from the Seoul Metropolitan City and Gyeonggi Province. Community clusters with ≥5 cases were characterized by size and duration, categorized using K-means clustering, and the correlation between the types of clusters and the level of social distancing investigated. RESULTS: A total of 134 clusters comprised of 4033 cases were identified. The clusters were categorized into small (type I and II), medium (type III), and large (type IV) clusters. A comparable number of daily reported cases in different time periods were composed of different types of clusters. Increased social distancing was related to a shift from large to small-sized clusters. CONCLUSIONS: Classification of clusters may provide opportunities to understand the pattern of COVID-19 outbreaks better and implement more effective suppression strategies. Social distancing administered by the government may effectively suppress large clusters but may not effectively control small and sporadic clusters.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/epidemiology , Disease Outbreaks , Physical Distancing , COVID-19/prevention & control , Contact Tracing , Humans , Seoul/epidemiology
7.
Int J Infect Dis ; 102: 1-9, 2021 Jan.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1060124

ABSTRACT

OBJECTIVES: In South Korea, 13 745 cases of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) had been reported as of 19 July, 2020. To examine spatiotemporal changes in the transmission potential, we aimed to present regional estimates of the doubling time and reproduction number (Rt) for COVID-19 in the country. METHODS: Daily series of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the most affected regions were extracted from publicly available sources. We employed established mathematical and statistical methods to investigate the time-varying reproduction numbers and doubling time for COVID-19 in Korea. RESULTS: At the regional level, Seoul and Gyeonggi Province experienced the first peak of COVID-19 in early March, followed by a second wave in early June, withRt exceeding 3.0 and mean doubling time ranging from 3.6 to 10.1 days. As of 19 July, 2020, Gyeongbuk Province and Daegu had yet to experience a second wave of the disease. During the first wave, mean Rt for these areas reached 3.5-4.4, and doubling time ranged from 2.8 to 4.6 days. CONCLUSIONS: Our findings support the effectiveness of control measures against COVID-19 in Korea. However, the easing of restrictions that had been imposed by the government in May 2020 facilitated a second wave in the greater Seoul area.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/epidemiology , Communicable Disease Control , Age Factors , Basic Reproduction Number , COVID-19/prevention & control , COVID-19/transmission , Female , Humans , Models, Biological , Pandemics/prevention & control , Republic of Korea/epidemiology , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , Seoul/epidemiology , Time Factors
8.
J Korean Med Sci ; 36(5): e45, 2021 Feb 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1059756

ABSTRACT

Considering the mild degree of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in children and the enormous stress caused by isolation in unfamiliar places, policies requiring mandatory isolation at medical facilities should be reevaluated especially given the impact of the pandemic on the availability of hospital beds. In this study, we assessed the usefulness of facility isolation and the transmissibility of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 by infected children to uninfected caregivers in isolation units at a hospital and a residential treatment center in Seoul during August-November 2020. Fifty-three children were included and median age was 4 years (range, 0-18). All were mildly ill or asymptomatic and isolated for a median duration of 12 days. Thirty percent stayed home longer than 2 days before entering isolation units from symptom onset. Among 15 uninfected caregivers, none became infected when they used facemasks and practiced hand hygiene. The results suggest children with mild COVID-19 may be cared safely at home by a caregiver in conditions with adherence to the preventive measures of wearing facemasks and practicing hand hygiene.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/prevention & control , COVID-19/therapy , Home Nursing , Patient Isolation/methods , Adolescent , Caregivers , Child , Child, Preschool , Female , Hand Hygiene , Hospitalization , Humans , Infant , Infant, Newborn , Male , N95 Respirators , Patient Compliance , Seoul/epidemiology
9.
J Korean Med Sci ; 36(5): e44, 2021 Feb 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1059691

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Understanding the changes in emergency department (ED) visit patterns during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) outbreak is important for effectively operating EDs during the pandemic. We aimed to analyze the changes in pediatric ED visits during the COVID-19 pandemic and examine the relationship between the number of ED visits and the stringency of government social distancing measures. METHODS: This multicenter retrospective study used data of pediatric (age < 18 years) ED visits in Seoul metropolitan area from June 1, 2018, to May 31, 2020. Patient demographics, ED results, and diagnoses were compared during the COVID-19 period and the previous year. To evaluate the effect of the stringency of social distancing measures on the number of ED visits, a Poisson regression model was developed with month, year, and the average monthly Government Response Stringency Index (GRSI) as fixed effects. RESULTS: In total, 190,732 patients were included. The number of pediatric ED visits during the COVID-19 period was 58.1% lower than in the previous year. There were disproportionate decreases in the numbers of ED visits for children in early childhood (66.5%), low-acuity children (55.2-63.8%), those who did not use an ambulance (59.0%), and those visiting the ED for noninjury complaints (64.9%). The proportion of admissions increased from 11.9% to 16.6%. For every 10-point increase in the GRSI, there was a 15.1% decrease in monthly ED visits. CONCLUSION: A striking decrease in pediatric ED visits was observed during the COVID-19 outbreak, the scale which was associated with the stringency of government policies. Changes in the number and characteristics of children visiting the ED should be considered to facilitate the effective operation of EDs during the pandemic.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/epidemiology , Emergency Service, Hospital/organization & administration , Emergency Service, Hospital/statistics & numerical data , Pediatrics/organization & administration , Adolescent , Child , Child, Preschool , Disease Outbreaks , Female , Hospitalization , Humans , Infant , Infant, Newborn , Male , Physical Distancing , Poisson Distribution , Republic of Korea/epidemiology , Retrospective Studies , Seoul/epidemiology , Tertiary Care Centers
10.
J Korean Med Sci ; 36(4): e38, 2021 Jan 25.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1048951

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) outbreaks emerged at two university-affiliated hospitals in Seoul (hospital A) and Uijeongbu City (hospital S) in the metropolitan Seoul area in March 2020. The aim of this study was to investigate epidemiological links between the outbreaks using whole genome sequencing (WGS) of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). METHODS: Fifteen patients were enrolled in the study, including four non-outbreak (A1-A4) and three outbreak cases (A5-A7) in hospital A and eight cases (S1-S8) in hospital S. Patients' hospital stays, COVID-19 symptoms, and transfer history were reviewed. RNA samples were submitted for WGS and genome-wide single nucleotide variants and phylogenetic relationships were analyzed. RESULTS: The index patient (A5) in hospital A was transferred from hospital S on 26 March. Patients A6 and A7 were the family caregiver and sister, respectively, of the patient who shared a room with A5 for 4 days. Prior to transfer, A5 was at the next bed to S8 in the emergency room on 25 March. Patient S6, a professional caregiver, took care of the patient in the room next to S8's room for 5 days until 22 March and then S5 for another 3 days. WGS revealed that SARS-CoV-2 in A2, A3, and A4 belong to clades V/B.2, S/A, and G/B.1, respectively, whereas that of A5-A7 and S1-S5 are of the V/B.2.1 clade and closely clustered. In particular, SARS-CoV-2 in patients A5 and S5 showed perfect identity. CONCLUSION: WGS is a useful tool to understand epidemiology of SARS-CoV-2. It is the first study to elucidate the role of patient transfer and caregivers as links of nosocomial outbreaks of COVID-19 in multiple hospitals.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/epidemiology , Cross Infection/epidemiology , Disease Outbreaks , Hospitals, University , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Adolescent , Adult , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , Child , Child, Preschool , Contact Tracing , Cross Infection/virology , DNA, Viral/genetics , Electronic Health Records , Female , Genome, Viral , Hospitals , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , Polymorphism, Single Nucleotide , Seoul/epidemiology , Whole Genome Sequencing , Young Adult
11.
Int J Infect Dis ; 104: 73-76, 2021 Mar.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-988028

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Scientists have strongly implied that aerosols could be the plausible cause of coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19) transmission; however, aerosol transmission remains controversial. THE STUDY: We investigated the epidemiological relationship among infected cases on a recent cluster infection of COVID-19 in an apartment building in Seoul, South Korea. All infected cases were found along two vertical lines of the building, and each line was connected through a single air duct in the bathroom for natural ventilation. Our investigation found no other possible contact between the cases than the airborne infection through a single air duct in the bathroom. The virus from the first infected case can be spread to upstairs and downstairs through the air duct by the (reverse) stack effect, which explains the air movement in a vertical shaft. CONCLUSIONS: This study suggests aerosol transmission, particularly indoors with insufficient ventilation, which is underappreciated.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/transmission , SARS-CoV-2 , Aerosols , COVID-19/epidemiology , Disease Outbreaks , Humans , Seoul/epidemiology
12.
J Korean Med Sci ; 35(40): e367, 2020 Oct 19.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-881336

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: In response to the disaster of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, Seoul Metropolitan Government (SMG) established a patient facility for mild condition patients other than hospital. This study was conducted to investigate the operation and necessary resources of a community treatment center (CTC) operated in Seoul, a metropolitan city with a population of 10 million. METHODS: To respond COVID-19 epidemic, the SMG designated 5 municipal hospitals as dedicated COVID-19 hospitals and implemented one CTC cooperated with the Boramae Municipal Hospital for COVID-19 patients in Seoul. As a retrospective cross-sectional observational study, retrospective medical records review was conducted for patients admitted to the Seoul CTC. The admission and discharge route of CTC patients were investigated. The patient characteristics were compared according to route of discharge whether the patient was discharged to home or transferred to hospital. To report the operation of CTC, the daily mean number of tests (reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction and chest X-ray) and consultations by medical staffs were calculated per week. The list of frequent used medications and who used medication most frequently were investigated. RESULTS: Until May 27 when the Seoul CTC was closed, 26.5% (n = 213) of total 803 COVID-19 patients in Seoul were admitted to the CTC. It was 35.7% (n = 213) of 597 newly diagnosed patients in Seoul during the 11 weeks of operation. The median length of stay was 21 days (interquartile range, 12-29 days). A total of 191 patients (89.7%) were discharged to home after virologic remission and 22 (10.3%) were transferred to hospital for further treatment. Fifty percent of transferred patients were within a week since CTC admission. Daily 2.5-3.6 consultations by doctors or nurses and 0.4-0.9 tests were provided to one patient. The most frequently prescribed medication was symptomatic medication for COVID-19 (cough/sputum and rhinorrhea). The next ranking was psychiatric medication for sleep problem and depression/anxiety, which was prescribed more than digestive drug. CONCLUSION: In the time of an infectious disease disaster, a metropolitan city can operate a temporary patient facility such as CTC to make a surge capacity and appropriately allocate scarce medical resource.


Subject(s)
Coronavirus Infections/epidemiology , Coronavirus Infections/therapy , Hospitalization , Hospitals , Pneumonia, Viral/epidemiology , Pneumonia, Viral/therapy , Adolescent , Adult , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , Betacoronavirus , COVID-19 , Child , Child, Preschool , Cities , Cross-Sectional Studies , Female , Humans , Infant , Infant, Newborn , Length of Stay , Male , Middle Aged , Pandemics , Patient Discharge , Patient Transfer , Retrospective Studies , SARS-CoV-2 , Seoul/epidemiology , Young Adult
13.
J Hosp Infect ; 106(4): 673-677, 2020 Dec.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-808779

ABSTRACT

We assessed infection control efforts by comparing data collected over 20 weeks during a pandemic under a dual-track healthcare system. A decline in non-COVID-19 patients visiting the emergency department by 37.6% (P<0.01) was observed since admitting COVID-19 cases. However, patients with acute myocardial infarction (AMI), stroke, severe trauma and acute appendicitis presenting for emergency care did not decrease. Door-to-balloon time (34.3 (± 11.3) min vs 22.7 (± 8.3) min) for AMI improved significantly (P<0.01) while door-to-needle time (55.7 (± 23.9) min vs 54.0 (± 18.0) min) in stroke management remained steady (P=0.80). Simultaneously, time-sensitive care involving other clinical services, including patients requiring chemotherapy, radiation therapy and haemodialysis did not change.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/epidemiology , Emergency Medical Services/statistics & numerical data , Hospitals/statistics & numerical data , Time-to-Treatment/statistics & numerical data , Acute Disease , Appendicitis/epidemiology , Appendicitis/therapy , COVID-19/diagnosis , COVID-19/transmission , COVID-19/virology , Cross-Sectional Studies , Emergency Service, Hospital/statistics & numerical data , Hospitalization/statistics & numerical data , Humans , Infection Control/organization & administration , Myocardial Infarction/epidemiology , Myocardial Infarction/therapy , Pandemics/prevention & control , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Seoul/epidemiology , Stroke/epidemiology , Stroke/therapy , Time-to-Treatment/trends , Wounds and Injuries/epidemiology , Wounds and Injuries/therapy
14.
Epidemiol Health ; 42: e2020047, 2020.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-646722

ABSTRACT

OBJECTIVES: To estimate time-variant reproductive number (Rt) of coronavirus disease 19 based on either number of daily confirmed cases or their onset date to monitor effectiveness of quarantine policies. METHODS: Using number of daily confirmed cases from January 23, 2020 to March 22, 2020 and their symptom onset date from the official website of the Seoul Metropolitan Government and the district office, we calculated Rt using program R's package "EpiEstim". For asymptomatic cases, their symptom onset date was considered as -2, -1, 0, +1, and +2 days of confirmed date. RESULTS: Based on the information of 313 confirmed cases, the epidemic curve was shaped like 'propagated epidemic curve'. The daily Rt based on Rt_c peaked to 2.6 on February 20, 2020, then showed decreased trend and became <1.0 from March 3, 2020. Comparing both Rt from Rt_c and from the number of daily onset cases, we found that the pattern of changes was similar, although the variation of Rt was greater when using Rt_c. When we changed assumed onset date for asymptotic cases (-2 days to +2 days of the confirmed date), the results were comparable. CONCLUSIONS: Rt can be estimated based on Rt_c which is available from daily report of the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Estimation of Rt would be useful to continuously monitor the effectiveness of the quarantine policy at the city and province levels.


Subject(s)
Basic Reproduction Number/statistics & numerical data , Coronavirus Infections/epidemiology , Epidemics , Pneumonia, Viral/epidemiology , Adolescent , Adult , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , COVID-19 , Child , Coronavirus Infections/prevention & control , Female , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , Pandemics/prevention & control , Pneumonia, Viral/prevention & control , Public Policy , Quarantine , Seoul/epidemiology , Time Factors , Young Adult
15.
J Korean Med Sci ; 35(33): e311, 2020 Aug 24.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-729635

ABSTRACT

Serosurveillance studies reveal the actual disease burden and herd immunity level in the population. In Seoul, Korea, a cross-sectional investigation showed 0.07% anti-severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 antibody seropositivity among 1,500 outpatients of the university hospitals. Low seroprevalence reflects well-implemented social distancing. Serosurveillance should be repeated as the pandemic progresses.


Subject(s)
Antibodies, Viral/blood , Betacoronavirus/immunology , Adolescent , Adult , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , COVID-19 , Child , Child, Preschool , Coronavirus Infections/epidemiology , Coronavirus Infections/immunology , Cross-Sectional Studies , Female , Hospitals, University , Humans , Infant , Infant, Newborn , Male , Middle Aged , Outpatients , Pandemics , Pneumonia, Viral/epidemiology , Pneumonia, Viral/immunology , SARS-CoV-2 , Seoul/epidemiology , Seroepidemiologic Studies , Young Adult
16.
PLoS One ; 15(8): e0237692, 2020.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-717607

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Our hospital experienced the first healthcare-associated COVID-19 outbreak in Seoul at the time the first COVID-19 cases were confirmed in Korea. The first confirmed COVID-19 patient was a hospital personnel who was in charge of transferring patients inside our hospital. To contain the virus spread, we shutdown our hospital, and tested all inpatients, medical staff members, and employees. METHODS: We retrospectively analyzed the results of SARS-CoV-2 RT-PCR testing according to the contact history, occupation, and presence of respiratory symptoms. Closed-circuit television (CCTV) was reviewed in the presence of an epidemiologist to identify individuals who came into contact with confirmed COVID-19 patients. RESULTS: A total of 3,091 respiratory samples from 2,924 individuals were obtained. Among 2,924 individuals, two inpatients, and one caregiver tested positive (positivity rate, 0.1%). Although all confirmed cases were linked to a general ward designated for pulmonology patients, no medical staff members, medical support personnel, or employees working at the same ward were infected. Contact with confirmed COVID-19 cases was frequent among inpatients and medical support personnel. The most common contact area was the general ward for pulmonology patients and medical support areas, including clinical and imaging examination rooms. Finally, the total number of hospital-associated infections was 14, consisting of four diagnosed at our hospital and ten diagnosed outside the hospital. CONCLUSIONS: The robust control of the COVID-19 outbreak further minimized the transmission of SARS-CoV-2 in the hospital and local communities. However, there was also a debate over the appropriate period of hospital shutdown and testing of all hospital staff and patients. Future studies are required to refine and establish the in-hospital quarantine and de-isolation guidelines based on the epidemiological and clinical settings.


Subject(s)
Betacoronavirus/genetics , Coronavirus Infections/epidemiology , Coronavirus Infections/prevention & control , Cross Infection/epidemiology , Cross Infection/prevention & control , Disease Transmission, Infectious/prevention & control , Hospitals, University , Pandemics/prevention & control , Pneumonia, Viral/epidemiology , Pneumonia, Viral/prevention & control , Adult , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , COVID-19 , Coronavirus Infections/diagnosis , Coronavirus Infections/virology , Cross Infection/virology , Female , Health Personnel , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , Patients' Rooms , Pneumonia, Viral/diagnosis , Pneumonia, Viral/virology , Quarantine/methods , Retrospective Studies , Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction , SARS-CoV-2 , Seoul/epidemiology , Young Adult
17.
Int J Environ Res Public Health ; 17(15)2020 07 22.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-670512

ABSTRACT

Both domestic emissions and transported pollutants from neighboring countries affect the ambient fine particulate matter (PM2.5) concentration of Seoul, Korea. Diverse measures to control the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), such as social distancing and increased telecommuting in Korea and the stringent lockdown measures of China, may reduce domestic emissions and levels of transported pollutants, respectively. In addition, wearing a particulate-filtering respirator may have decreased the absolute PM2.5 exposure level for individuals. Therefore, this study estimated the acute health benefits of PM2.5 reduction and changes in public behavior during the COVID-19 crisis in Seoul, Korea. To calculate the mortality burden attributable to PM2.5, we obtained residents' registration data, mortality data, and air pollution monitoring data for Seoul from publicly available databases. Relative risks were derived from previous time-series studies. We used the attributable fraction to estimate the number of excessive deaths attributable to acute PM2.5 exposure during January to April, yearly, from 2016 to 2020, and the number of mortalities avoided from PM2.5 reduction and respirator use observed in 2020. The average PM2.5 concentration from January to April in 2020 (25.6 µg/m3) was the lowest in the last 5 years. At least -4.1 µg/m3 (95% CI: -7.2, -0.9) change in ambient PM2.5 in Seoul was observed in 2020 compared to the previous 4 years. Overall, 37.6 (95% CI: 32.6, 42.5) non-accidental; 7.0 (95% CI: 5.7, 8.4) cardiovascular; and 4.7 (95% CI: 3.4, 6.1) respiratory mortalities were avoided due to PM2.5 reduction in 2020. By considering the effects of particulate respirator, decreases of 102.5 (95% CI: 89.0, 115.9) non-accidental; 19.1 (95% CI: 15.6, 22.9) cardiovascular; and 12.9 (95% CI: 9.2, 16.5) respiratory mortalities were estimated. We estimated that 37 lives were saved due to the PM2.5 reduction related to COVID-19 in Seoul, Korea. The health benefit may be greater due to the popular use of particulate-filtering respirators during the COVID-19 crisis. Future studies with daily mortality data are needed to verify our study estimates.


Subject(s)
Coronavirus Infections/epidemiology , Environmental Exposure/analysis , Particulate Matter/analysis , Pneumonia, Viral/epidemiology , Betacoronavirus , COVID-19 , Coal , Coronavirus Infections/virology , Databases, Factual , Dust , Humans , Pandemics , Particulate Matter/toxicity , Pneumonia, Viral/virology , SARS-CoV-2 , Seoul/epidemiology
18.
Asia Pac J Public Health ; 32(6-7): 360-362, 2020.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-646793

ABSTRACT

The novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak has put the entire world in a pandemic situation. In response, strict screening, quarantine protocols, and contact tracing have been conducted in South Korea. The purpose of this study was to examine effects of social distancing on the Public Bicycle Sharing System (PBSS) during the COVID-19 outbreak. We used the PBSS public dataset of Seoul, South Korea. Difference-in-differences (DID) analysis was used. In the DID approach, the 2 groups are distinguished based on designated year. Cases of PBSS use were observed in 2 time periods: pre- and post-strict social distancing in Seoul, Korea. Average PBSS usage per day doubled during 2019-2020 (30 697 vs 77 996, P < .001). Commuters and weekend users increased during the social distancing period in 2020 compared with the same period in 2019. DID analysis showed statistically significant positive effects of high levels of social distancing on PBSS usage, commuters, weekend users, and new subscribers. In conclusion, social distancing during the COVID-19 outbreak increased outdoor physical activity. Meaningful outdoor physical activity during the COVID-19 pandemic can be safe from infection and psychologically stabilized as long as keeping meticulous physical distancing, such as hand hygiene, wearing facial masks, and surface cleaning of public resources.


Subject(s)
Bicycling/statistics & numerical data , COVID-19/prevention & control , Coronavirus Infections/prevention & control , Pandemics/prevention & control , Pneumonia, Viral/prevention & control , Coronavirus Infections/epidemiology , Datasets as Topic , Humans , Physical Distancing , Pneumonia, Viral/epidemiology , Seoul/epidemiology
19.
Epidemiol Health ; 42: e2020027, 2020.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-456606

ABSTRACT

Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is now a pandemic. The Korean government has declared a red alert, which is the highest level of the national infectious disease alert system, and the World Health Organization has similarly declared its highest-level pandemic alert (phase 6). The spread of COVID-19 is an unprecedented worldwide public health problem that governments and individuals must work to overcome. Recently, an infection cluster arose in a call center in Seoul. To support call center companies, the Korean Ministry of Employment and Labor has proposed covering the costs of installing partitions and air purifiers, providing hand sanitizers, and supplying masks to prevent droplet and aerosol infections. Air purifiers are expected to be installed on the floor with the exhaust outlets at a higher level, such as the level of the desks or breathing zones of workers. When a worker coughs or releases droplets near a colleague's respiratory system, the droplets may spread throughout the call center via air flow from air purifier. In this fashion, a single infected person can give rise to an infection cluster. Attempts to prevent infection must not lead to new infections, and the installation of air purifiers may cause new problems. Therefore, using air purifiers to control the spread of COVID-19 should be approached with caution.


Subject(s)
Air Filters , Coronavirus Infections/prevention & control , Occupational Diseases/prevention & control , Occupational Exposure/prevention & control , Pandemics/prevention & control , Pneumonia, Viral/prevention & control , Air Filters/adverse effects , COVID-19 , Call Centers , Coronavirus Infections/epidemiology , Coronavirus Infections/transmission , Humans , Occupational Diseases/epidemiology , Occupational Exposure/adverse effects , Occupational Health , Pneumonia, Viral/epidemiology , Pneumonia, Viral/transmission , Seoul/epidemiology
20.
Int J Environ Res Public Health ; 17(9)2020 04 29.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-141716

ABSTRACT

Background: In March 2020, overall, 37,000 international students from China, a country at risk of the 2019-novel coronavirus (COVID-19) infection has arrived in Seoul, South Korea. Individuals from the country at risk of COVID-19 infection have been included in the Korean home-quarantine program, but the efficacy of the program is uncertain. Methods: To estimate the possible number of infected individuals within the large influx of international students from China, we used a deterministic compartmental model for epidemic and performed a simulation-based search of different rates of compliance with home-quarantine. Results: Under the home-quarantine program, the number of the infected individuals would reach 40-72 from 12 March-24 March with the arrival of 0.2% of pre-infectious individuals. Furthermore, the number of isolated individuals would peak at 40-64 from 13 March-27 March in Seoul, South Korea. Our findings indicated when incoming international students showed strict compliance with quarantine, epidemics by the international student from China were less likely to occur in Seoul, South Korea. Conclusions: To mitigate possible epidemics, additional efforts to improve the compliance of home-quarantine of the individuals from countries with the virus risk are warranted along with other containment policies.


Subject(s)
Coronavirus Infections/epidemiology , International Educational Exchange , Pneumonia, Viral/epidemiology , Students/statistics & numerical data , COVID-19 , China/ethnology , Humans , Pandemics , Seoul/epidemiology
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