Pandemic response gaps: Infection prevention and control lessons learned during coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) outbreaks in skilled nursing facilities in Detroit, Michigan

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Infection control and hospital epidemiology


BACKGROUND: Hospitalizations among skilled nursing facility (SNF) residents in Detroit increased in mid-March 2020 due to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. Outbreak response teams were deployed from local healthcare systems, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the Detroit Health Department (DHD) to understand the infection prevention and control (IPC) gaps in SNFs that may have accelerated the outbreak.

METHODS: We conducted 2 point-prevalence surveys (PPS-1 and PPS-2) at 13 Detroit SNFs from April 8 to May 8, 2020. The DHD and partners conducted facility-wide severe acute respiratory coronavirus virus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) testing of all residents and staff and collected information regarding resident cohorting, staff cohorting, and personnel protective equipment (PPE) utilized during that time.

RESULTS: Resident cohorting had been implemented in 7 of 13 (58.3%) SNFs prior to point-prevalence survey 1 (PPS-1), and other facilities initiated cohorting after obtaining PPS-1 results. Cohorting protocols of healthcare practitioners and environmental service staff were not established in 4 (31%) of 13 facilities, and in 3 facilities (23.1%) the ancillary staff were not assigned to cohorts. Also, 2 SNFs (15%) had an observation unit prior to PPS-1, 2 (15%) had an observation unit after PPS-1, 4 (31%) could not establish an observation unit due to inadequate space, and 5 (38.4%) created an observation unit after PPS-2.

CONCLUSION: On-site consultations identified gaps in IPC knowledge and cohorting that may have contributed to ongoing transmission of SARS-CoV-2 among SNF residents despite aggressive testing measures. Infection preventionists (IPs) are critical in guiding ongoing IPC practices in SNFs to reduce spread of COVID-19 through response and prevention.

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ePub ahead of print

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