Objectives: To understand SARS-Co-V-2 infection and transmission in UK nursing homes in order to develop preventive strategies for protecting the frail elderly residents.
Methods: An outbreak investigation involving 394 residents and 70 staff, was carried out in 4 nursing homes affected by COVID-19 outbreaks in central London. Two point-prevalence surveys were performed one week apart where residents underwent SARS-CoV-2 testing and had relevant symptoms documented. Asymptomatic staff from three of the four homes were also offered SARS-CoV-2 testing.
Results: Overall, 26% (95% CI 22-31) of residents died over the two-month period. All-cause mortality increased by 203% (95% CI 70-336) compared with previous years. Systematic testing identified 40% (95% CI 35-46) of residents as positive for SARS-CoV-2, and of these 43% (95% CI 34-52) were asymptomatic and 18% (95% CI 11-24) had only atypical symptoms; 4% (95% CI -1 to 9) of asymptomatic staff also tested positive.
Conclusions: The SARS-CoV-2 outbreak in four UK nursing homes was associated with very high infection and mortality rates. Many residents developed either atypical or had no discernible symptoms. A number of asymptomatic staff members also tested positive, suggesting a role for regular screening of both residents and staff in mitigating future outbreaks.
Keywords: COVID-19; Care home; Coronavirus; Diagnostic testing; Nursing home; SARS-CoV-2.
Copyright © 2020. Published by Elsevier Ltd.