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COVID-19 Outbreak Described in Long-Term Care Facility

167 cases of COVID-19 identified affecting 101 residents; case fatality rate 33.7 percent

THURSDAY, April 2, 2020 (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, Ph.D., 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 seven residents. For facility residents, visitors, and staff, the hospitalization rates were 54.5, 50.0, and 6.0 percent, respectively. The case facility rate was 33.7 percent 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.

"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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