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Point-Prevalence Surveys in SNFs Help Cut COVID-19 Transmission

Initial, repeated surveys inform infection prevention and control efforts in skilled nursing facilities

Woman in hospital with breathing difficulties using a respiration mask

THURSDAY, July 2, 2020 (HealthDay News) -- Conducting point-prevalence surveys in skilled nursing facilities (SNFs) can inform cohorting and infection prevention and control (IPC) activities to reduce transmission, according to research published in the July 1 early-release issue of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

Noting that the Detroit Health Department and area hospitals detected an increase in COVID-19 diagnoses, hospitalizations, and associated deaths among SNF residents during March 2020, Guillermo V. Sanchez, M.P.H., from the CDC COVID-19 Response Team, and colleagues described efforts to inform severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection prevention in SNFs.

The researchers note that the Detroit Health Department collaborated with partners to rapidly expand SARS-CoV-2 testing and implement IPC activities in all SNFs in the Detroit area. Among 2,773 residents of 26 Detroit SNFs, 1,207 laboratory-confirmed cases of COVID-19 were identified during March 7 to May 8 (before [March 7 to April 7] and after two point-prevalence surveys [April 8 to 25 and April 30 to May 8]), with an overall attack rate of 44 percent. Within 21 days of receiving their first positive test result, 37 and 24 percent of the 1,207 COVID-19 patients were hospitalized and died, respectively. The percentage of positive test results decreased from 35 to 18 percent among facilities participating in both surveys.

"As the availability of SARS-CoV-2 testing increases, repeated point-prevalence surveys and intensified IPC support from public health practitioners are essential components of COVID-19 IPC strategies in SNFs experiencing COVID-19 outbreaks," the authors write.

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