Providing safe care for patients in the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) era: A case series evaluating risk for hospital-associated COVID-19

Elizabeth B. Habermann, Aaron J. Tande, Benjamin D. Pollock, Matthew R. Neville, Henry H. Ting, Priya Sampathkumar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: We evaluated the risk of patients contracting coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) during their hospital stay to inform the safety of hospitalization for a non–COVID-19 indication during this pandemic. Methods: A case series of adult patients hospitalized for 2 or more nights from May 15 to June 15, 2020 at large tertiary-care hospital in the midwestern United States was reviewed. All patients were screened at admission with the severe acute respiratory coronavirus virus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test. Selected adult patients were also tested by IgG serology. After dismissal, patients with negative serology and PCR at admission were asked to undergo repeat serologic testing at 14–21 days after discharge. The primary outcome was healthcare-associated COVID-19 defined as a new positive SARS-CoV-2 PCR test on or after day 4 of hospital stay or within 7 days of hospital dismissal, or seroconversion in patients previously established as seronegative. Results: Of the 2,068 eligible adult patients, 1,778 (86.0%) completed admission PCR testing, while 1,339 (64.7%) also completed admission serology testing. Of the 1,310 (97.8%) who were both PCR and seronegative, 445 (34.0%) repeated postdischarge serology testing. No healthcare-associated COVID-19 cases were detected during the study period. Of 1,310 eligible PCR and seronegative adults, no patients tested PCR positive during hospital admission (95% confidence interval [CI], 0.0%–0.3%). Of the 445 (34.0%) who completed postdischarge serology testing, no patients seroconverted (0.0%; 95% CI, 0.0%–0.9%). Conclusion: We found low likelihood of hospital-associated COVID-19 with strict adherence to universal masking, physical distancing, and hand hygiene along with limited visitors and screening of admissions with PCR.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1479-1485
Number of pages7
JournalInfection Control and Hospital Epidemiology
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 5 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases


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