Clin Med (Lond). 2020 Aug 11:clinmed.2020-0411. doi: 10.7861/clinmed.2020-0411. Online ahead of print.
Nosocomial transmission of COVID-19 puts patients with other medical problems at risk of severe illness and death. Of 662 inpatients with COVID-19 at an NHS Trust in South London, 45 (6.8%) were likely to have acquired COVID-19 in hospital. These patients had no evidence of respiratory or influenza-like illness on admission and developed symptoms, with positive SARS-CoV-2 PCR test results, more than 7 days after admission (>14 days for 38 [5.7%] patients). Forty (88.9%) of these patients had shared a ward with a confirmed COVID-19 case prior to testing positive. Implementation of a triage system combining clinical assessment with rapid SARS-CoV-2 testing facilitated cohorting so that fewer susceptible patients were exposed to COVID-19 on shared wards. With hospital service resumption alongside the possibility of future waves of COVID-19 related admissions, strategies to prevent nosocomial transmission are essential. Point-of-care diagnostics can complement clinical assessment to rapidly identify patients with COVID-19 and reduce risk of transmission within hospitals.