CDC: Asymptomatic/Presymptomatic COVID-19 Residents May Up Transmission Risk in Nursing Homes Updated (3/20)

By CDC - March 27, 2020

Asymptomatic and Presymptomatic SARS-CoV-2 Infections in Residents of a Long-Term Care Skilled Nursing Facility — King County, Washington, March 2020

Early Release / March 27, 2020 / 69

Summary

What is already known about this topic?

Once SARS-CoV-2 is introduced in a long-term care skilled nursing facility (SNF), rapid transmission can occur.

What is added by this report?

Following identification of a case of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in a health care worker, 76 of 82 residents of an SNF were tested for SARS-CoV-2; 23 (30.3%) had positive test results, approximately half of whom were asymptomatic or presymptomatic on the day of testing.

What are the implications for public health practice?

Symptom-based screening of SNF residents might fail to identify all SARS-CoV-2 infections. Asymptomatic and presymptomatic SNF residents might contribute to SARS-CoV-2 transmission. Once a facility has confirmed a COVID-19 case, all residents should be cared for using CDC-recommended personal protective equipment (PPE), with considerations for extended use or reuse of PPE as needed.


Second related MMWR study: 

Underlying Health Conditions Among Patients with Coronavirus Disease 2019 — United States, February 12–March 28, 2020

Early Release / March 31, 2020 / 69

CDC COVID-19 Response Team

Summary

What is already known about this topic?

Published reports from China and Italy suggest that risk factors for severe COVID-19 disease include underlying health conditions, but data describing underlying health conditions among U.S. COVID-19 patients have not yet been reported.

What is added by this report?

Based on preliminary U.S. data, persons with underlying health conditions such as diabetes mellitus, chronic lung disease, and cardiovascular disease, appear to be at higher risk for severe COVID-19–associated disease than persons without these conditions.

What are the implications for public health practice?

Strategies to protect all persons and especially those with underlying health conditions, including social distancing and handwashing, should be implemented by all communities and all persons to help slow the spread of COVID-19.