Clinical Course of Asymptomatic and Mildly Symptomatic Patients with Coronavirus Disease Admitted to Community Treatment Centers, South Korea

Emerg Infect Dis. 2020 Oct;26(10):2346-2352. doi: 10.3201/eid2610.201620. Epub 2020 Jun 22.


We evaluated the clinical course of asymptomatic and mildly symptomatic patients with laboratory-confirmed coronavirus disease (COVID-19) admitted to community treatment centers (CTCs) for isolation in South Korea. Of 632 patients, 75 (11.9%) had symptoms at admission, 186 (29.4%) were asymptomatic at admission but developed symptoms during their stay, and 371 (58.7%) remained asymptomatic during their entire clinical course. Nineteen (3.0%) patients were transferred to hospitals, but 94.3% (573/613) of the remaining patients were discharged from CTCs upon virologic remission. The mean virologic remission period was 20.1 days (SD + 7.7 days). Nearly 20% of patients remained in the CTCs for 4 weeks after diagnosis. The virologic remission period was longer in symptomatic patients than in asymptomatic patients. In mildly symptomatic patients, the mean duration from symptom onset to virologic remission was 11.7 days (SD + 8.2 days). These data could help in planning for isolation centers and formulating self-isolation guidelines.

Keywords: 2019 novel coronavirus disease; COVID-19; RT-PCR; SARS; SARS-CoV-2; South Korea; asymptomatic; community treatment center; coronavirus; mild; quarantine facility; respiratory infections; severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2; viruses; zoonoses.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Asymptomatic Infections*
  • Betacoronavirus
  • COVID-19
  • Community Health Centers / statistics & numerical data*
  • Comorbidity
  • Coronavirus Infections / complications*
  • Coronavirus Infections / diagnosis
  • Coronavirus Infections / epidemiology*
  • Disease Progression
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Length of Stay / statistics & numerical data
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pandemics
  • Patient Admission
  • Patient Transfer / statistics & numerical data
  • Pneumonia, Viral / complications*
  • Pneumonia, Viral / diagnosis
  • Pneumonia, Viral / epidemiology*
  • Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Republic of Korea / epidemiology
  • Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • Time Factors
  • Young Adult