THURSDAY, Sept. 10, 2020 (HealthDay News) — During the height of the pandemic, the incidence of nosocomial COVID-19 was rare, according to a study published online Sept. 9 in JAMA Network Open.

Chanu Rhee, M.D., M.P.H., from Harvard Medical School in Boston, and colleagues examined the incidence of COVID-19 among patients admitted to a hospital between March 7 and May 30, 2020. Medical records were reviewed for all patients who first tested positive for severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) by reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) on hospital day 3 or later or within 14 days of discharge.

The researchers found that 7,394 SARS-CoV-2 RT-PCR tests were performed for 9,149 patients admitted to the hospital during the 12-week period. A total of 697 COVID-19 cases were confirmed, resulting in 8,656 days of COVID-19-related care. Overall, 1.7 percent of these cases (12/697) first tested positive on hospital day 3 or later. Only one case was deemed hospital-acquired, most likely from a presymptomatic spouse visitor who was diagnosed with COVID-19 before implementation of visitor restrictions and masking. Eleven of the 8,370 patients (0.1 percent) with non-COVID-19-related hospitalizations discharged through June 17 tested positive within 14 days. Only one case was deemed likely to be hospital-acquired.

“These results, especially if replicated at other U.S. hospitals, should provide reassurance to patients as some health care systems reopen services and others continue to face COVID-19 surge,” the authors write.

Two authors disclosed financial ties to UpToDate.

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