Preventing SARS-CoV-2 transmission in the emergency department by implementing a separate pathway for patients with respiratory conditions.

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This study aimed to describe the development and implementation of a separated pathway to check and treat patients with a suspected/confirmed coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in the emergency department (ED) at King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz University Hospital in Riyadh.We conducted a retrospective, descriptive longitudinal study from March to July 2020 by analyzing data of all confirmed cases of COVID-19 among ED visitors and healthcare workers in King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz University Hospital.During the study period, a total of 1,182 swab samples were collected for testing for severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), of which 285 (24.1%) tested positive. Of the 285 cases of confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection, 18 were healthcare workers and 267 were patients. As a result of using the respiratory pathway for COVID-19 patients, the hospital managed to limit transmission of SARS-CoV-2 not only between patients but also between patients and healthcare workers, while also containing the pandemic. There were no cases of nosocomial SARS-CoV-2 infection recorded among the patients who visited the ED or the flu clinic. All confirmed cases were community acquired and patients were cared for under constrained measures.Implementing infection control measures and restricting those with respiratory symptoms to the ED pathway prevented nosocomial spread of SARS-CoV-2 infection in the ED.

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Authors: Fulwah Alqahtani, Marzouqah Alanazi, Wajdan Alassaf, Fadilah Sfouq Aleanizy, Muna Aljahany, Mercy Joseph, Mohammad AlRaye