Containing COVID-19 outside the isolation ward: The impact of an infection control bundle on environmental contamination and transmission in a cohorted general ward.Am J Infect Control. 2020 09; 48(9):1056-1061.AJ
During an ongoing outbreak of COVID-19, unsuspected cases may be housed outside of dedicated isolation wards.
At a Singaporean tertiary hospital, individuals with clinical syndromes compatible with COVID-19 but no epidemiologic risk were placed in cohorted general wards for COVID-19 testing. To mitigate risk, an infection control bundle was implemented comprising infrastructural enhancements, improved personal protective equipment, and social distancing. We assessed the impact on environmental contamination and transmission.
Upon detection of a case of COVID-19 in the dedicated general ward, patients and health care workers (HCWs) contacts were identified. All patient and staff close-contacts were placed on 14-day phone surveillance and followed up for 28 days; symptomatic contacts were tested. Environmental samples were also obtained.
Over a 3-month period, 28 unsuspected cases of COVID-19 were contained in the dedicated general ward. In 5 of the 28 cases, sampling of the patient's environment yielded SARS-CoV-2; index cases who required supplemental oxygen had higher odds of environmental contamination (P = .01). A total of 253 staff close-contacts and 45 patient close-contacts were identified; only 3 HCWs (1.2%, 3/253) required quarantine. On 28-day follow-up, no patient-to-HCW transmission was documented; only 1 symptomatic patient close-contact tested positive.
Our institution successfully implemented an intervention bundle to mitigate COVID-19 transmission in a multibedded cohorted general ward setting.