Development of strategies for mitigating the severity of COVID-19 is now a top global public health priority. We sought to assess strategies for mitigating the COVID-19 outbreak in a hospital setting via the use of non-pharmaceutical interventions such as social distancing, self-isolation, tracing and quarantine, wearing facial masks/ personal protective equipment.
We developed an individual-based model for COVID-19 transmission among healthcare workers in a hospital setting. We calibrated the model using data of a COVID-19 outbreak in a hospital unit in Wuhan in a Bayesian framework. The calibrated model was used to simulate different intervention scenarios and estimate the impact of different interventions on outbreak size and workday loss.
We estimated that work-related stress increases susceptibility to COVID-19 infection among healthcare workers by 52% (90% Credible Interval (CrI): 16.4% 93.0%). The use of high efficacy facial masks was shown to be able to reduce infection cases and workday loss by 80% (90% CrI: 73.1% 85.7%) and 87% (CrI: 80.0% 92.5%), respectively. The use of social distancing alone, through reduced contacts between healthcare workers, had a marginal impact on the outbreak. A strict quarantine policy with the isolation of symptomatic cases and a high fraction of pre-symptomatic/ asymptomatic cases (via contact tracing or high test rate), could only prolong outbreak duration with minimal impact on the outbreak size. Our results indicated that a quarantine policy should be coupled with other interventions to achieve its effect. The effectiveness of all these interventions was shown to increase with their early implementation.
Our analysis shows that a COVID-19 outbreak in a hospitals non-COVID-19 unit can be controlled or mitigated by the use of existing non-pharmaceutical measures.