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A major outbreak of covid-19 at a residential care home

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INTRODUCTION SARS-CoV-2 outbreaks at care homes are associated with a high morbidity and mortality. We aimed to study the molecular epidemiology of a major care home outbreak in Denmark. METHODS After a staff member had been tested positive on 16 November 2020, a bundle approach programme was initiated including frequent surveillance screenings of residents and staff, isolation and cohorting procedures. This approach also involved limiting the number of visitors and enhancing the use of personal protective equipment, hand hygiene, and environmental cleaning. Naso/oropharyngeal swabs were tested for SARS-CoV-2 by polymerase chain reaction. Available positive samples were sequenced and phylogenetic relationships between the outbreak and local circulating strains were reconstructed. RESULTS In all, 50% (56/114) of residents and 26% (49/190) of staff members became infected during the 46-day outbreak period. Altogether 16% of the infected residents died within 30 days after becoming infected. A total of 44% (46/105) of the samples with SARS-CoV-2 were sequenced. and phylogenetic analysis demonstrated a dominant outbreak lineage belonging to Global Lineage B.1.1.29 containing the mutation I233V in the S gene. The outbreak lineage was detected in the community 28 days before its introduction into the care home. CONCLUSIONS Introduction of SARS-CoV-2 to care homes is associated with severe outbreaks. Initiation of a bundle approach infection control programme in addition to measures ensuring enhanced herd immunity were successful in controlling the outbreak. Genome sequencing proved to be a powerful tool to describe the relatedness of the various clones and may help focusing outbreak interventions.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberA03210227
JournalDanish Medical Journal
Volume68
Issue number10
ISSN1603-9629
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2021

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