COVIDs spread within hospitals hit all-time high amid omicron wave

Enlarge / A well being care employee treats a affected person inside a adverse strain room within the COVID-19 intensive care unit at Freeman Hospital West in Joplin, Missouri, on Tuesday, August 3, 2021.

Spread of COVID-19 within US hospitals hit a report high in January, with greater than 3,000 hospital-acquired infections every week in the course of the month and a peak of over 4,300, in accordance with an analysis of federal data by Politico.

The surge of hospital transmissions mirrored the towering wave of instances within the total inhabitants pushed by the ultratransmissible omicron variant. The earlier report for hospital-transmission of COVID-19 occurred in January 2020 when federal knowledge caught over 2,000 infections per week within hospitals.

Still the numbers total are prone to be vital undercounts on condition that they solely seize sufferers who spend 14 consecutive days in a hospital and grow to be contaminated throughout their keep. The knowledge doesn’t account for shorter stays or individuals who take a look at constructive after discharge.

Politico famous that the information additionally doesn’t point out which hospitals had the very best transmission. And the information would not seize how the pandemic virus spread to sufferers within hospitals, ie, how a lot was spread from healthcare employees to sufferers, sufferers to sufferers, or guests to sufferers.

A wide range of components may have contributed to in-hospital spread, together with restricted availability of COVID testing and folks spending lengthy durations in crowded ready rooms as some well being care services grew to become overwhelmed in the course of the omicron surge. Lack of enforcement of masking in hospitals by sufferers and guests could have additionally been a supply of an infection.

Another chance is loosened steerage for contaminated well being care employees. In December, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention eased guidance for health care workers who examined constructive for COVID-19. In disaster conditions, the CDC allowed for contaminated well being care employees to return to work with out isolating or testing adverse. However, well being care employees have been nonetheless anticipated to put on high-quality N95-grade masks, which might decrease spread of the virus.

Anonymous officers advised Politico that the CDC is investigating the reason for the surge in hospital infections. But whereas there’s room for enchancment in transmission prevention measures, outdoors consultants famous that the speed of infections within hospitals was very low relative to the speed of infections out in communities. Getting infections all the way down to zero is nearly unattainable.


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