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Cases of novel coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) were first reported in Wuhan, China, in December 2019. In this report, we describe 3 clusters of COVID-19 infections among healthcare workers (HCWs), not associated with patient exposure, and the interventions undertaken to halt ongoing exposure and transmission at our cancer center.
A cluster of cases was defined as 2 or more cases of severe acute respiratory coronavirus virus 2 (SARS-CoV-2)–positive COVID-19 among HCWs who work in the same unit area at the same time. Cases were identified by real-time reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction testing. Contact tracing, facility observations, and infection prevention assessments were performed to investigate the 3 clusters between March 1 and April 30, 2020, with subsequent implementation of containment strategies.
The initial cluster involved HCWs from an ancillary services unit, with contacts traced back to a gathering in a break room in which 1 employee was symptomatic, although not yet diagnosed with COVID-19, with subsequent transmission to 7 employees. The second cluster involved 4 employees and was community related. The third cluster involved only 2 employees with possible transmission while working in the same office at the same time. A step-up approach was implemented to control the spread of infection among employees, including universal masking, enhanced cleaning, increase awareness, and surveillance testing. No nosocomial transmission to patients transpired.
To our knowledge, this is the first report of a hospital-based cluster of COVID-19 infections among HCWs in a cancer hospital describing our steps to mitigate further transmission.
Prolonged survival of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) on environmental surfaces and personal protective equipment may lead to these surfaces transmitting this pathogen to others. We sought to determine the effectiveness of a pulsed-xenon ultraviolet (PX-UV) disinfection system in reducing the load of SARS-CoV-2 on hard surfaces and N95 respirators.
Chamber slides and N95 respirator material were directly inoculated with SARS-CoV-2 and were exposed to different durations of PX-UV.
For hard surfaces, disinfection for 1, 2, and 5 minutes resulted in 3.53 log10, >4.54 log10, and >4.12 log10 reductions in viral load, respectively. For N95 respirators, disinfection for 5 minutes resulted in >4.79 log10 reduction in viral load. PX-UV significantly reduced SARS-CoV-2 on hard surfaces and N95 respirators.
With the potential to rapidly disinfectant environmental surfaces and N95 respirators, PX-UV devices are a promising technology to reduce environmental and personal protective equipment bioburden and to enhance both healthcare worker and patient safety by reducing the risk of exposure to SARS-CoV-2.
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