Early countermeasures to COVID-19 at long-term care facilities in Gwangju Metropolitan City, Republic of Korea

Osong Public Health Res Perspect. 2023 Feb;14(1):59-65. doi: 10.24171/j.phrp.2022.0293. Epub 2023 Feb 1.


Objectives: The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has continued since its first detection in the Republic of Korea on January 20, 2020. This study describes the early countermeasures used to minimize the risk of COVID-19 outbreaks during cohort quarantine and compares the epidemiological characteristics of 2 outbreaks in long-term care facilities (LTCFs) in Gwangju Metropolitan City in summer 2020.

Methods: An epidemiological investigation was conducted via direct visits. We investigated epidemiological characteristics, including incidence, morbidity, and mortality rates, for all residents and staff members. Demographic characteristics were analyzed using a statistical program. Additionally, the method of managing infection in LTCFs is described.

Results: Residents and caregivers had high incidence rates in LTCF-A and LTCF-B, respectively. LTCF-B had a longer quarantine period than LTCF-A. The attack rate was 20.02% in LTCF-A and 27.9% in LTCF-B. The mortality rate was 2.3% (1/43) in LTCF-B, the only facility in which a COVID-19 death occurred.

Conclusions: Extensive management requires contact minimization, which involves testing all contacts to mitigate further transmission in the early stages of LTCF outbreaks. The findings of this study can help inform and prepare public health authorities for COVID-19 outbreaks, particularly for early control in vulnerable facilities.

Keywords: COVID-19; Cohort isolation; Long-term care facility.