19 Mar 2021

Multi-pronged infection control strategy to achieve zero nosocomial COVID-19 infection among Hong Kong healthcare workers in the first 300 days of combat

Healthcare workers (HCWs) are ten times at risk of COVID-19 infection compared with the general population. Infection among HCWs can demoralise frontline staff and have a detrimental impact on the healthcare system. Therefore, to achieve zero nosocomial COVID-19 infection among HCWs, a multi-pronged infection control (IC) strategy was implemented to minimise its in Hong Kong.

Key summary of the strategy:

  1. Managing all newly diagnosed COVID-19 patients inside airborne infection isolation rooms (AIIRs) in hospitals or diverting them to community isolation facility (CIF) and community treatment facility (CTF).
  2. Enforcement of hand hygiene and regular cleaning of the environment.
  3. Enhancement of laboratory surveillance for early isolation of COVID-19 patients in AIIRs.
  4. Proactive screening for high-risk groups in quarantine camp.
  5. Setting up temporary test centres, CIF and CTF to relieve overcrowding in hospitals.
  6. Universal masking for HCWs and patients.
  7. Practicing proper donning and removing of personal protective equipment (PPE).
  8. Prudent use of PPE when performing aerosol-generating procedures.
  9. Special dining arrangement for HCWs in hospitals.
  10. Reducing the number of visitors at the hospitals.
  11. Educating IC measures and providing simulation training among HCWs. Each 3-hour training session includes a 45-minute lecture, scenario-based simulation practice, and a debrief.

The stringent multi-pronged IC strategy managed to prevent nosocomial SARS-CoV-2 infection among HCWs in the first 300 days despite an exposure of 78,834 COVID-19 patient days. With the emergence of mutant COVID-19 strains, such multi-pronged strategy becomes more important than ever.

To read the original article published in Infection Control & Hospital Epidemiology, click here.