‘Higher proportion’ of patients caught Covid during second wave, analysis suggests

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The analysis shows that during the second wave of the pandemic a high proportion of patients in hospitals have caught COVID-19.

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The expected rate of hospital-acquired infection (HAI) increased from an average of 11.3 percent for the first wave to 14.3 for the second wave, with 257,108 people in England diagnosed with COVID-19 in the nine months since August 2020. Was admitted to the hospital. May.

Of them, an estimated 36,824 non-Covid hospital patients were infected.


The increased HAI rate comes despite better infection prevention measures, better COVID testing within hospitals between the first and second waves, and greater access to personal protective equipment (PPE) for staff.

The increase is believed to be a result of the wider spread of COVID-19 and the greater number of hospitalizations reported during the winter, when the more infectious alpha variant was in circulation compared to the spring of last year.

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An analysis by campaign group Fresh Air NHS shows that the rate of HAI in hospital trusts in England reached around 20 per cent during the peak of the second wave.

It found that the Northern Devon Healthcare NHS Trust had the highest HAI rate between August and May, with just over 30 per cent of its non-Covid patients catching the virus.

Hospitals in Southampton, Oxford and South Warwickshire were the best at limiting hospital-acquired infections, recording an average rate of less than 10 per cent in the second wave.

NHS officials said infection control measures such as “hot and cold zones” to keep infected patients separate from non-Covid patients, as well as social distancing for staff and patients and PPE, are being used in hospitals to combat the spread of the virus. was applied for.

However, as the data shows, there is considerable variation between trusts, with some doing better at reducing the risk posed by HAIs – otherwise known as “nosocomial infections”.

An NHS source said, “Since the start of the Covid pandemic many trusts are learning even more about infection control. [But] I believe there is still more to learn.”

Miriam Deakin, director of policy and strategy at NHS Providers, said: “Covid-19 has brought unique challenges to every health system in the world and, like those health services, the NHS has not been able to completely eliminate that risk.

“These risks include the significant number of patients with COVID-19 asymptomatic and, at the start of the pandemic, inadequate access to rapid turnaround testing.”

The analysis is derived from NHS data on “probable” and “definite” cases of hospital-acquired infection. These are the persons who tested positive for COVID more than eight days after being admitted to the hospital, showing no initial symptoms at the time of admission.

This means that the figures provided may be overestimated. However, Dr Tom Lawton, a member of the Fresh Air NHS, said the data did not take into account patients who had caught Covid-19 in hospital, were discharged due to an initial lack of symptoms and later became critical. Was re-admitted with the disease.

Dr Lawton said their analysis suggests a higher HAI rate may be linked to hospital occupancy, but stressed that it was not always a factor.

“When you have fewer covid patients [the] It is easier to isolate patients and focus on ventilation,” he said.

“When it gets busy, it’s hard to do the right things. People spend more time at A&E, where it’s usually harder to pin down against air transmission. The pressures that build up tend to play a role. more likely.”

He added that limiting infections is “generally more difficult” when “more is about Covid”, but he added that many hospitals across England, including some of the country’s largest, have “handled the spread of the virus”. Very well done”. ward

Research published last month by the International Severe Acute Respiratory and Emerging Infections Consortium the Lancet found that an average of 11.3 per cent of Covid patients in UK hospitals were infected after admission during the first wave of the pandemic last year.

By the time the UK had passed its spring peak, the ratio would have reached 19.6 per cent in mid-May 2020.

Dr Lawton cautioned against making direct comparisons between this study and the Fresh Air NHS analysis, saying the methodology was different. Their research used data that was not made available until August last year.

He said that despite the emergence of the highly permeable delta variant, “massive” improvements have been made to all trusts in England since May to reduce the spread of Covid in hospitals.


Credit: www.independent.co.uk /

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