Targeted rapid testing for SARS-CoV-2 in the emergency department is associated with large reductions in uninfected patient exposure time

J Hosp Infect. 2021 Jan;107:35-39. doi: 10.1016/j.jhin.2020.09.035. Epub 2020 Oct 7.


Opportunity exists to decrease healthcare-related exposure to severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2), preserve infection control resources, and increase care capacity by reducing the time to diagnosis of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). A retrospective cohort analysis was undertaken to measure the effect of targeted rapid molecular testing for SARS-CoV-2 on these outcomes. In comparison with standard platform testing, rapid testing was associated with a 65.6% reduction (12.6 h) in the median time to removal from the isolation cohort for patients with negative diagnostic results. This translated to an increase in COVID-19 treatment capacity of 3028 bed-hours and 7500 fewer patient interactions that required the use of personal protective equipment per week.

Keywords: COVID-19; Rapid diagnostics; SARS-CoV-2.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • COVID-19 / diagnosis*
  • COVID-19 / prevention & control*
  • COVID-19 Nucleic Acid Testing / statistics & numerical data*
  • Emergency Service, Hospital / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infection Control / methods*
  • Infectious Disease Transmission, Patient-to-Professional / prevention & control
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Retrospective Studies
  • SARS-CoV-2 / genetics
  • Time Factors
  • Young Adult