Infectious Disease

The examine exhibits the utility of serial testing for outbreaks in nursing houses

February 22, 2021

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The modeling showed that serial testing of asymptomatic residents and staff in nursing homes can prevent more than 50% of SARS-CoV-2 infections in an outbreak, according to study results published in Clinical Infectious Diseases.

“A quick response to identified COVID-19 among nursing home staff or residents, guided by serial (e.g., weekly or more frequent) facility-wide testing can be a highly effective approach to controlling COVID-19. In comparison, regularly testing all employees in facilities with no known COVID-19 offered a small added benefit. ” Isaac Lake, MD, a member of the CDC’s COVID-19 response team, Healio said.

serial Covid tests

Source: See I et al. Clin Infect Dis. 2021; doi: 10.1093 / cid / ciab110.

“This analysis was originally done long before vaccination and at a time when testing resources were very limited,” See said. “If testing is limited, these resources should be prioritized first for symptomatic individuals, then for responding to outbreaks, and lastly for regular testing by staff outside the context of an outbreak.”

Using published SARS-CoV-2 transmission data, See and colleagues used mathematical models to determine the percentage of SARS-CoV-2 cases that were prevented when outbreak testing was performed alone or when outbreak testing and non-outbreak testing were performed in nursing homes. They also estimated the effect of a concomitant decrease in the effectiveness of isolating infected patients when testing strategies were in place.

The researchers found that outbreak testing had the potential to prevent between 54% and 92% of SARS-CoV-2 infections with weekly testing and a 48-hour turnaround or daily testing with immediate results. With additional tests without an outbreak, another 8% of cases were prevented, depending on the test frequency and processing time.

See that timely identification of infected people, with or without symptoms, and isolation of patients with a positive test is “critical” to reducing COVID-19 in nursing homes.

“We don’t know everything about how SARS-CoV-2 behaves, and it seems to continue to change over time,” See said. “We also did not investigate the effects of immunity to previous infections or vaccinations. Therefore, it is crucial to further describe how new variants behave and how vaccination is changing the dynamics of the COVID-19 pandemic in nursing homes. “

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