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Background: The gold standard for diagnosis of COVID-19 has been SARS-CoV-2 detection by reverse-transcriptase-quantitative polymerase chain reaction (RT-qPCR), which provides a semiquantitative indicator of viral load (cycle threshold, Ct). Our research group previously described how African American race and poverty were associated with an increased likelihood of hospitalization due to COVID-19. We sought to characterize the relationship between Ct values and clinical outcomes while controlling for sociodemographic factors. Methods: We conducted a cross-sectional study of SARS-CoV-2–positive patients admitted to Froedtert Health between March 16 and June 1, 2020. Ct values were obtained by direct interrogation of either cobas SARS-CoV-2 or Cepheid Xpert Xpress platforms. Patient demographics, comorbidities, symptoms at admission, health insurance, and hospital course were collected using electronic medical records. A proxy for socioeconomic disadvantage, area-deprivation index (ADI), was assigned using ZIP codes. Multivariate models were performed to assess associations between Ct values and clinical outcomes while controlling for ADI, race, and type of insurance. Results: Overall, 302 patients were included. The mean age was 60.89 years (SD, 18.2); 161 (53%) were men, 177 (58%) were African Americans; and 156 (51%) had Medicaid or were uninsured. Of the 302 inpatients, 158 (52%) required admission to the ICU, 199 (65.9%) were discharged to home, 49 (16.2%) were discharged to a nursing home, and 54 (17.9%) died. Lower Ct values (higher viral load) were associated with Medicaid or lack of insurance (coefficient, −2.88, 95% confidence interval [CI], −4.96 to −0.79, P = .007) and age >60 years old (coefficient, −2.98, 95% CI −4.87 to −1.08, P = .002). Contrary to what was expected, higher CT values (lower viral load) were associated with higher ADI scores (coefficient, 2.62, 95% CI, 0.52–4.85; P = .017). However, when patients were stratified into low, medium, and high ADI, those with Medicaid or no insurance had the lowest mean Ct values (23.3, 25.9, and 27.6, respectively) compared to Medicare or other insurance (Figure 1). Body mass index (odds ratio [OR], 1.04; 95% CI, 1.02–1.07; P = .001) and male sex (OR, 2.15; 95% CI, 1.28–3.60; P = .004) were independently associated with ICU admission. Every increase of a CT point (OR, 0.90; 95% CI, 0.85–0.95; p <0.001) and age >60 years old (OR 2.62, 95% CI; 1.14-6.04; p=0.023) was associated with death. Conclusions: In this cross-sectional study of adults tested for COVID-19 in a large midwestern academic health system, lower Ct values were independently associated with poverty and age >60 years old.
Background: Asymptomatic SARS-CoV-2 infections play a crucial role in viral transmission. However, they are often difficult to identify given that widespread surveillance has not been the norm. We sought to determine whether COVID-19 rates reported at the county level could predict the positivity rates for SARS-CoV-2 among asymptomatic patients tested in a large academic health system. Methods: This observational study was conducted from April 23, 2020, to December 10, 2020, at Froedtert Health (FH) system, the largest academic health system in Wisconsin. On April 23, 2020, FH implemented SARS-CoV-2 surveillance among all consecutive admissions not suspected of COVID-19, all patients scheduled for elective procedures and deliveries, and all asymptomatic patients with known exposures. Samples were processed by the FH laboratory using molecular methods (RT-PCR). To obtain the daily number of newly confirmed COVID-19 cases in Milwaukee County, we accessed the Wisconsin Department of Health Services publicly available COVID-19 database. For the purpose of this study, COVID-19 rates were defined as the percentage of positive tests among all daily tests performed at the county level, while SARS-CoV-2 positivity rates were the percentage of positive tests among all daily surveillance tests performed at FH among asymptomatic patients. The association between COVID-19 rates in Milwaukee County and asymptomatic rates at FH were assessed using an autoregressive moving average time series analysis. To examine the association between these rates, we fitted a seventh-order autoregression for the residuals based on autocorrelation function and partial autocorrelation function plots of the residuals from linear regression. Results: From April 23, 2020, to December 10, 2020, there were 2,347 new asymptomatic infections detected at FH and 75,196 new COVID-19 cases reported in Milwaukee County. Figure 1 shows the time-series plot of asymptomatic SARS-CoV-2 positivity rates at FH and Figure 2 shows COVID-19 rates in Milwaukee County. As the COVID-19 rate in Milwaukee County increased by 1 unit, the asymptomatic infection rate in FH decreased by 0.024 unit (95% CI, −0.053 to 0.004; P = .095) after accounting for autocorrelation over time. Thus, there was no association between these rates. Conclusions: The positivity rates among asymptomatic patients at a large medical center were not predicted by the positivity rate at the county level. This finding suggests that the epidemiology at a county level may be determined by pockets in the population who may not interact, and thus not affect, the positivity rates among asymptomatic patients served by a hospital system within the county.
Background: The COVID-19 pandemic has disproportionately affected nursing home residents, and emerging evidence suggests quality, location, resident demographics, and staffing levels may be related to COVID-19 incidence within facilities. We describe the distribution of COVID-19 cases in Wisconsin nursing homes from January 2020 to October 2020, the effect of rural versus urban locations on COVID-19 incidence, and the temporal changes in COVID-19 incidence. Methods: We constructed a database using the Center for Medicaid and Medicare Services’ (CMS) publicly available data. Variables obtained per facility included location, number of beds, ownership type, average census, 5-star ratings (overall, quality, health, staffing, and nurse staffing categories), number of COVID-19 cases, resident Medicaid/Medicare share, area deprivation index, and social vulnerability index. Nursing homes were divided into tertiles based on total COVID-19 cases for descriptive analysis (zero cases, 1–7 cases, >7 cases). Demographic and clinical variables were reported as frequencies, mean (standard deviation) or median (interquartile range). We compared groups using the Pearson χ2 test and the Kruskal-Wallis test. COVID-19 incidence rates were calculated by dividing the number of COVID-19 cases by monthly occupied bed days and multiplied by 10,000. Results: From January 1, 2020, to November 1, 2020, in total, 3,133 SARS-CoV-2–confirmed cases were reported among 248 (70.5%) nursing homes. Urban location (P = .027), overall 5-star rating (P = .035), number of beds (p < 0.001), and average count of residents per day (p < 0.001) were associated with a greater number of COVID-19 cases. Temporal analysis showed that the highest incidence rates of COVID-19 in NHs were observed from January to May and in October 2020 (11.36 and 30.33 cases per 10,000 occupied-bed days, respectively). Urban NHs experienced higher incidence rates until September, then incidence rates among rural facilities surged (Fig.1A). In the first half of the year, NHs with lower quality scores (1-3 stars) had a higher COVID-19 incidence rate; however, in August this trend reversed, and facilities with higher quality scores (4-5 stars) showed the highest incidence rates (Fig.1B). Fig. 2 shows a temporal depiction of the shift from urban to rural settings. Conclusions: Higher COVID-19 incidence rates during the first 5 months of the pandemic were observed in urban, larger facilities with lower 5-star rating. By the end of the year, nursing homes in rural areas and those with higher quality ratings had the highest incidence rates.
Asymptomatic SARS-CoV-2 infections are often difficult to identify because widespread surveillance has not been the norm. Using time-series analyses, we examined whether COVID-19 rates at the county level could predict positivity rates among asymptomatic patients in a large health system. Asymptomatic positivity rates at the system level and county-level COVID-19 rates were not associated.
The primary aim of this study was to assess the epidemiology of carbapenem-resistant Acinetobacter baumannii (CRAB) for 9 months following a regional outbreak with this organism. We also aimed to determine the differential positivity rate from different body sites and characterize the longitudinal changes of surveillance test results among CRAB patients.
A 607-bed tertiary-care teaching hospital in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
Any patient admitted from postacute care facilities and any patient housed in the same inpatient unit as a positive CRAB patient.
Participants underwent CRAB surveillance cultures from tracheostomy secretions, skin, and stool from December 5, 2018, to September 6, 2019. Cultures were performed using a validated, qualitative culture method, and final bacterial identification was performed using mass spectrometry.
In total, 682 patients were tested for CRAB, of whom 16 (2.3%) were positive. Of the 16 CRAB-positive patients, 14 (87.5%) were residents from postacute care facilities and 11 (68.8%) were African American. Among positive patients, the positivity rates by body site were 38% (6 of 16) for tracheal aspirations, 56% (9 of 16) for skin, and 82% (13 of 16) for stool.
Residents from postacute care facilities were more frequently colonized by CRAB than patients admitted from home. Stool had the highest yield for identification of CRAB.
The household setting has some of the highest coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) secondary-attack rates. We compared the air contamination in hospital rooms versus households of COVID-19 patients. Inpatient air samples were only positive at 0.3 m from patients. Household air samples were positive even without a COVID-19 patient in the proximity to the air sampler.
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