COVID-19 Outbreak in an Urban Hemodialysis Unit.Am J Kidney Dis. 2020 11; 76(5):690-695.e1.AJ
RATIONALE & OBJECTIVE
Hemodialysis patients are at increased risk for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) transmission due in part to difficulty maintaining physical distancing. Our hemodialysis unit experienced a COVID-19 outbreak despite following symptom-based screening guidelines. We describe the course of the COVID-19 outbreak and the infection control measures taken for mitigation.
Retrospective cohort study.
SETTING & PARTICIPANTS
237 maintenance hemodialysis patients and 93 hemodialysis staff at a single hemodialysis center in Toronto, Canada.
Universal screening of patients and staff for severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2).
The primary outcome was detection of SARS-CoV-2 in nasopharyngeal samples from patients and staff using reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR).
Descriptive statistics were used for clinical characteristics and the primary outcome.
11 of 237 (4.6%) hemodialysis patients and 11 of 93 (12%) staff members had a positive RT-PCR test result for SARS-CoV-2. Among individuals testing positive, 12 of 22 (55%) were asymptomatic at time of testing and 7 of 22 (32%) were asymptomatic for the duration of follow-up. One patient was hospitalized at the time of SARS-CoV-2 infection and 4 additional patients with positive test results were subsequently hospitalized. 2 (18%) patients required admission to the intensive care unit. After 30 days' follow-up, no patients had died or required mechanical ventilation. No hemodialysis staff required hospitalization. Universal droplet and contact precautions were implemented during the outbreak. Hemodialysis staff with SARS-CoV-2 infection were placed on home quarantine regardless of symptom status. Patients with SARS-CoV-2 infection, including asymptomatic individuals, were treated with droplet and contact precautions until confirmation of negative SARS-CoV-2 RT-PCR test results. Analysis of the outbreak identified 2 index cases with subsequent nosocomial transmission within the dialysis unit and in shared shuttle buses to the hemodialysis unit.
Universal SARS-CoV-2 testing and universal droplet and contact precautions in the setting of an outbreak appeared to be effective in preventing further transmission.