The healthcare workers in Hong Kong, despite COVID-19, stay relatively disease free
Researchers report that no hospital acquired infections occurred among healthcare workers at public hospitals in Hong Kong after the first 6 weeks of the SARS-CoV-2 outbreak — even though these hospitals dealt with 42 confirmed cases of COVID-19.
Dr. Vincent C.C. Cheng of the Department of Microbiology at Queen Mary Hospital, in Hong Kong, and his team inventoried the infection control measures implemented by the Hong Kong Hospital Authority, “a governing body of all 43 public hospitals, responsible for 90% of inpatient service in Hong Kong” immediately after the COVID-19 outbreak in Wuhan, mainland China.
The findings indicate that standard infection control practices are effective if conscientiously applied. The scientists also examined the epidemiology of the confirmed cases that these hospitals dealt with, as well as collecting and analyzing environmental and air samples to see how much the virus had spread in the environment.
The researchers published their findings in Infection Control & Hospital Epidemiology, the journal of The Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America. Dr. Cheng and colleagues started their calculations with “day 1” — December 31, 2019, the day when a cluster of pneumonia cases was announced in Wuhan, China.
The aim of the study was to evaluate the preparedness for COVID-19 in the following 42 days, or 6 weeks. During this time, the 43 hospitals included in the analysis tested 1,275 suspected cases of COVID-19 and treated 42 confirmed cases — that is, 3.3% of the suspected cases. A total of 413 healthcare workers treated the confirmed cases. Eleven of these employees had unprotected exposure to SARS-CoV-2 and were therefore quarantined for 14 days.
None of the quarantined staff members contracted the virus, report the researchers. Furthermore, no hospital acquired infections occurred after 6 weeks, “The descriptive study employed unique environmental and air samples, with the results suggesting that environmental transmission may play less of a role than person-to-person transmission in disease propagation,” said Dr. Gonsalvo Berman of Virginia Commonwealth University, who reviewed the results but was not involved in the study itself.
SOURCE: Medical News Today