OBJECTIVE: Recommendations for infection prevention and control (IPC) of COVID-19 in long-term care settings were developed based on limited understanding of COVID-19 and should be evaluated to determine their efficacy in reducing transmission among high-risk populations .
SETTING: Site visits to 24 long-term care facilities (LTCFs) in Fulton County, Georgia, were conducted between June and July 2020 to assess adherence to current guidelines, provide real-time feedback on potential weaknesses, and identify specific indicators whose implementation or lack thereof was associated with higher or lower prevalence of COVID-19 .
PARTICIPANTS: Twenty-four LTCFs were visited, representing 2,580 LTCF residents, among whom 1,004 (39 %) were infected with COVID-19 . MEASUREMENTS: Overall IPC adherence in LTCFs was analyzed for 33 key indicators across five categories: Hand Hygiene, Disinfection, Social Distancing, PPE, and Symptom Screening . Facilities were divided into Higher- and Lower-prevalence groups based on cumulative COVID-19 infection prevalence to determine differences in IPC implementation .
RESULTS: IPC implementation was lowest in the Disinfection category (32 %) and highest in the Symptom Screening category (74 %). Significant differences in IPC implementation between the Higher- and Lower-prevalence groups were observed in the Social Distancing category (Higher-prevalence group 54% vs Lower-prevalence group 74%, P <.01) and the PPE category (Higher-prevalence group 41% vs Lower-prevalence group 72%, P <.01).
CONCLUSION: LTCFs with lower COVID-19 prevalence among residents had significantly greater implementation of IPC recommendations compared to those with higher COVID-19 prevalence, suggesting the utility in adhering to current guidelines to reduce transmission in this vulnerable population.