A Novel Cohorting and Isolation Strategy for Suspected COVID-19 Cases during a Pandemic

Link to article at PubMed

Patterson B, et al. J Hosp Infect 2020.


INTRODUCTION: The COVID-19 pandemic presents a significant infection prevention and control challenge. The admission of large numbers of patients with suspected COVID-19 disease risks overwhelming the capacity to protect other patients from exposure. The delay between clinical suspicion and confirmatory testing adds to the complexity of the problem.

METHODS: We implemented a triage tool aimed at minimising hospital acquired COVID-19 particularly to patients at risk of severe disease. Patients were allocated to triage categories defined by likelihood of COVID-19 and risk of a poor outcome. Category A (low-likelihood; high-risk), B (high-likelihood; high-risk), C (high-likelihood; low-risk) and D (low-likelihood; low-risk). This determined the order of priority for isolation in single-occupancy rooms with Category A the highest. Patients in other groups were cohorted when isolation capacity was limited with additional interventions to reduce transmission.

RESULTS: 93 patients were evaluated with 79 (85%) receiving a COVID-19 diagnosis during their admission. Of those without a COVID-19 diagnosis: 10 were initially triaged to Category A; 0 to B; 1 to C and 4 to D. All high risk patients requiring isolation were, therefore, admitted to single-occupancy rooms and protected from exposure. 28 (30%) suspected COVID-19 patients were evaluated to be low risk (groups C & D) and eligible for cohorting. No symptomatic hospital acquired infections were detected in the cohorted patients.

DISCUSSION: Application of a clinical triage tool to guide isolation and cohorting decisions may reduce the risk of hospital acquired transmission of COVID-19 especially to individuals at the greatest of risk of severe disease.

PMID:32485197 | PMC:PMC7261079 | DOI:10.1016/j.jhin.2020.05.035

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