Nine out of ten health and care providers who contracted the coronavirus got it at work, according to a report published today.
And one in five patients hospitalized with Covid-19 had contracted the virus in a ward, raising concerns about the spread of the disease in hospitals.
The report, by scientists from the Data Evaluation and Learning for Viral Epidemics group (DELVE), added that at least one in 10 of all coronavirus cases diagnosed in England in May were found among health professionals.
Researchers say transmission in homes and hospitals – which often happens between people without symptoms – works like a ‘revolving door’ with community outbreaks, both feeding each other.
The report estimated that in May, one percent of cases were additional among hospital patients who contracted the virus in the hospital.
And another six percent were in residents of care homes, the researchers said.
They pointed out that data suggests that a Covid-19 infection is six times more likely for health professionals than for the general population, with tests from the Office for National Statistics suggest that 1.87 percent of health workers would test positive compared to 0 , 32 percent of the general population.
Inadequate protective equipment, inadequate testing, inadequate separation of patients and staff who are not socially distant may all be behind the spread, the experts suggested.
NHS employees must now all wear personal protective equipment when meeting patients in person, to prevent the spread of the coronavirus (Pictured: Staff at Christie Cancer Hospital in Manchester)
Medical personnel are shown wearing personal protective equipment during treatment of an intensive care patient at Frimley Park Hospital in Surrey
The Royal Society report entitled ‘Acquisition of COVID-19 in Hospitals and Healthcare and its Control’ examined the spread of coronavirus in hospitals and care homes in England.
It was conducted by the Data Evaluation and Learning for Viral Epidemics committee (DELVE).
It tried to work out the scale of the spread – nosocomial infection – and the reasons why it happened and how it could be prevented in the future.
ONE IN FIVE COVID-19 HOSPITALS HAVE CAUGHT VIRUS
British hospitals have been one of the main breeding grounds for the spread of Covid-19, with one in five patients contracting the virus in the hospital, scientists say.
Papers published by Sage in June and prepared for the cabinet showed that at the height of the crisis, hospital transmission would account for 22 percent of hospitalized patient cases and up to 11 percent of deaths.
The numbers don’t include the staff or those attending outpatient appointments, so the numbers may be underestimated.
In light of the data, a letter from Professor Stephen Powis, medical director of NHS England, has been sent to hospitals instructing them to “minimize close contact between staff and encourage workers to” meet at central workstations. avoid and take staggered breaks.
According to a study by The Daily Telegraph, Public Health England (PHE) would not have given hospital staff guidance on how to follow distance rules until May 18.
This was almost two months after the UK entered lockout on March 23.
The data has raised concerns that NHS is confident that Covid-19, along with nursing homes, is “re-seeding” the community in the community, making it difficult to lift the restrictions.
The researchers said it was important to understand the spread among health and care providers, as it also contributed to community cases and vice versa.
The report said: ‘Infections in the hospital have important implications for the outcomes of infections (hospitalized patients and some staff are at higher risk), workforce scheduling (health workers cannot work during peak periods) and strengthening community transfer (due to discharge) infectious patients and transmission to families and other contacts of health professionals and patients). ‘
The report refers to a study published in May by Public Health England that predicted that 89 percent of Covid-19 cases among health professionals were spread within hospitals.
And about 20 percent of infections in hospital patients were contracted by the patient while they were in the hospital for something else, it said.
Data from April 26 to June 7, the report said, at least 10 percent of all Covid-19 infections came from health professionals and health care providers.
This period did not include the peak of the crisis, at the end of March and the beginning of April.
But health workers were a smaller proportion of all cases at the time, the report said, when the virus was more widespread among the population.
It estimated that the peak of all hospital infections was the same as the national peak, but hospitals made up the bulk in early May, when it was between 10 and 20 percent.
Professor Anne Johnson, of University College London, said: “Hospital-acquired infections increase the spread of the community…. There is a revolving door from the hospital to the community and back, “the Evening standard reported.
Health and healthcare providers would likely contract the virus at work while caring for people with Covid-19, it said, then taking it home and spreading it among their families.
Or on the other hand, they risked spreading it to more people if they caught it outside of work because they come into contact with so many people.
The report included a case study of a hospital worker in Germany who went to work with a fever and infected 28 colleagues, 13 patients and seven visitors.
In that case, the uncontrolled spread was attributed to a lack of social distance and protection equipment (PPE), as well as to the infected worker who was not at home.
Data showed that the number of cases caused by hospital infections peaked in early May, about a month after the peak of deaths in England, which occurred in early April
Social distance, personal protective equipment, and generally inadequate hygiene practices had caused the spread in the hospital around the world, the report said.
It seemed to encompass Britain, but certain specific causes in NHS hospitals were not identified.
Some of the reasons why the virus spread so quickly in hospitals and health care facilities were, according to the report, insufficient hand washing, improper disinfection of surfaces, lack of proper physical distance, failure to separate infected and non-infected patients, and rotate personnel through different parts of hospitals.
They also said that more testing and tracking would be needed in the future to control the spread of the virus among health professionals.
In recommendations for reducing infections in the future, the experts recommended comprehensive, rapid tests for all hospital staff, not just doctors and nurses.
They also called for better monitoring and data for hospital infections, investigation of outbreaks for when incidents occurred, and more research on cost-effective ways to reduce the spread of the disease.
Professor Johnson said, “We now better understand the risks of COVID-19 transmission within hospitals and health care facilities, although improved data are needed.
As in many countries, outbreaks have occurred and continue to occur, although new prevention efforts are now underway.
“Now we need to learn from our experience and gain a deeper understanding of how the pandemic unfolded, to ensure that we are better prepared to prevent and manage new outbreaks and a possible second wave and protect everyone.”