Alliance for Pandemic Preparedness

February 9, 2021

A SARS-CoV-2 Cluster in an Acute Care Hospital



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Despite mature infection control policies, a cluster of SARS-CoV-2 infections among 14 patients and 38 staff members at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston was confirmed using whole-genome sequencing. The index patient was admitted for an elective procedure and tested PCR-negative twice, then was removed from isolation and subsequently infected roommates and staff in the cluster. A case-control analysis of infected and non-infected staff member contacts suggests that being present while case patients received nebulizers, caring for patients who were short of breath and coughing, and spending more than 15 minutes exposed to case patients were risk factors for transmission. Infection prevention measures including universal testing, mandatory surgical masks and eye protection, patient cohorting into negative pressure wards, free PCR testing for employees and mandatory sick leave. Genome sequencing confirmed that 2 staff members were infected despite wearing surgical masks and eye protection.

Klompas et al. (Feb 9, 2021). A SARS-CoV-2 Cluster in an Acute Care Hospital. Annals of Internal Medicine.