HealthDay News – Outbreaks of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) can have a considerable impact on long-term care facilities, according to a report published online March 27 in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Temet M. McMichael, PhD, from the University of Washington in Seattle, and colleagues launched a case investigation that included contact tracing, quarantine of exposed individuals, isolation of confirmed and suspected cases, and on-site enhancement of infection prevention and control after identification of a confirmed COVID-19 case in a skilled nursing facility in King County, Washington.

The researchers found that 167 confirmed cases of COVID-19 affecting 101 residents, 50 health care personnel, and 16 visitors were epidemiologically linked to the facility as of March 18. Among residents, most cases included respiratory illness consistent with COVID-19; no symptoms were documented in 7 residents. For facility residents, visitors, and staff, the hospitalization rates were 54.5, 50.0, and 6.0%, respectively. The case facility rate was 33.7% for residents. A total of 30 long-term care facilities with at least one confirmed case of COVID-19 were identified in King County as of March 18.

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“The experience described here indicates that outbreaks of COVID-19 in long-term care facilities can have a considerable impact on vulnerable older adults and local health care systems,” the authors write. “The findings also suggest that once COVID-19 has been introduced into a long-term care facility, it has the potential to spread rapidly and widely.”


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