TUESDAY, Aug. 31, 2021 (HealthDay News) — During the first wave of COVID-19, at least 11.3 percent of patients with COVID-19 in 314 U.K. hospitals were infected after admission, according to a research letter published online Aug. 12 in The Lancet.

Jonathan M. Read, Ph.D., from the Lancaster University in the United Kingdom, and colleagues examined the magnitude of nosocomial COVID-19 in acute and long-term National Health Service hospital facilities in the United Kingdom during the first pandemic wave. The records of COVID-19 patients in U.K. hospitals were examined, with symptom onset before Aug. 1, 2020.

The researchers estimated that 11.3 percent of patients with COVID in 314 U.K. hospitals were infected after admission. By the middle of May 2020, after the peak of admissions, this proportion increased to at least 15.8 percent. An estimated 6.8 percent of all patients with COVID-19 were nosocomial, and 8.2 percent were nosocomial at the mid-May peak using an extremely conservative threshold of symptom onset at least 14 days after admission to identify hospital-acquired infections (HAIs). Marked heterogeneity was seen in the proportion of HAIs between hospital trusts and by the nature of care provided; lower proportions were seen at hospitals providing acute and general care versus residential community care hospitals and mental health hospitals (9.7 percent versus 61.9 and 67.5 percent, respectively).

“The underlying reasons for these high rates of transmission in hospitals at the peak of the first wave must be investigated, so that we can improve safety and outcomes for our patients,” a coauthor said in a statement. “Rates are considerably lower a year on, and people should not be deterred from attending hospital if they are unwell.”

Several authors disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical, nutrition, and other industries.

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