COVID-19 – infection prevention and control literature – November 2020

Papers that related to COVID-19 infection prevention and control from the daily COVID-19 Critical Intelligence Unit  listings and other identified literarure.  This posting does not attempt to assess the specific evidence or its quality. Please let me know of any significant gaps – mdjkf[at] or @mdjkf .

Peer reviewed journals

  • COVID-19 in health-care workers in three hospitals in the south of the Netherlands: a cross-sectional study here . “Interpretation: Although direct transmission in the hospitals cannot be ruled out, our data do not support widespread nosocomial transmission as the source of infection in patients or health-care workers.”
  • Systematic review: Surface contamination, stability, and disinfection data on SARS-CoV-2 here
  • Outbreaks of COVID‐19 in health care workers at the Royal Melbourne Hospital here. Previously available as preprint.  “We describe the largest institutional outbreak of SARS‐CoV‐2 health care worker infections reported in Australia to date. Our response was necessarily iterative and pragmatic and advice often pre‐dated formal state and federal recommendations. During these outbreaks, a number of key factors emerged that shaped our responses, extending well beyond a focus on PPE alone.”
  • Effectiveness of Face Masks in Preventing Airborne Transmission of SARS-CoV-2 – manikin simulation experiments here
  • Hospital-acquired COVID-19 and risks to healthcare workers here. Discusses the effectiveness of universal masking by HCW and patients as a control measure. 
  • Investigation into COVID-19 transmission in hospitals (UK Healthcare Safety Investigation Branch) – report 29/10/20  Commentary on report here
  • A single site, cross sectional survey of frontline healthcare professionals on symptoms associated with personal protective equipment use hereNew-onset symptom rate was 66% (n=208). The most common new-onset symptom was headache (n=115, 36.5%) followed by breathing difficulty-palpitation (n=79, 25.1%) and dermatitis (n=64, 20.3%). “
  • A prospective observational study on airborne SARS-CoV-2 in hospital rooms with optimised ventilation here 
  • Airborne COVID-19 inactivation using low dose far-UVC lighting here 
  • Long-distance airborne dispersalof COVID-19 in wards at Uppsala University Hospital here (PCR detected, culture negative) 
  • A comparative study of mid-turbinate and nasopharyngeal swabs for SARS-CoV-2 detection here
  • Observational study of surveillance and identification of clusters of health care workers with COVID-19 hereIn this report, we describe three clusters of COVID-19 infections among health care workers (HCWs), not associated with patient exposure, and the interventions undertaken to halt ongoing exposure and transmission at our cancer center.”
  • BMJ Open Triaging of respiratory protective equipment on the assumed risk of SARS-CoV-2 aerosol exposure in patient-facing healthcare workers delivering secondary care: a rapid review here  There is a paucity of evidence on the comparison of facemasks and respirators specific to SARS-CoV-2, and poor-quality evidence in other contexts. The use of surrogates results in extrapolation of non-SARS-CoV-2 specific data to guide UK Government PPE guidance. The appropriateness of this is unknown given the uncertainty over the transmission of SARS-CoV-2.This means that the evidence base for UK Government PPE guidelines is not based on SARS-CoV-2 and requires generalisation from low-quality evidence of other pathogens/particles. There is a paucity of high-quality evidence regarding the efficacy of RPE specific to SARS-CoV-2.”
  • A literature review on the effectiveness of surgical masks and respirators for COVID-19 here   No new data cited.
  • A Lancet Resp Med editorial on COVID-19 transmission and infective microdroplets here “Public health guidance now needs to advise people how to navigate risk in indoor settings and wearing facemasks is becoming mandatory in many countries for travelling on public transport, indoor shopping, and gatherings. Facemasks and shields offer protection from larger droplets but their effectiveness against airborne transmission is less certain. Advice on spending time indoors should also focus on improved ventilation and avoiding crowded spaces.”
  • A cohort study on the risk of hospital admission with COVID-19 in healthcare workers and their households in Scotland here and associated editorial here
  • A laboratory simulation study on the effect of draping during surgical procedures here
  • Systematic review- The organotropism of COVID-19 here
  • Environmental analysis of COVID-19 air and surface contamination inside an Italian city bus here  “After two weeks of measurements and more than 1100 passenger travelling on the bus the virus was never detected both on surfaces and on air, suggesting that the precautions adopted on public transportation are effective in reducing the COVID-19 spreading.”


  • A rapid systematic review of measures to protect older people in long term care facilities from COVID-19 here; 38 studies included. Reported interventions include mass testing, use of personal protective equipment, symptom screening, visitor restrictions, hand hygiene and droplet/contact precautions, and resident cohorting. 

Letters and correspondence discussed:

  • SARS-CoV-2 in the U.S. Military — Lessons for Civil Society – NEJM Editorial discussing two recent papers here (Parris Island quarantine outcomes and U.S.S. Theodore Roosevelt outbreak). High rates of asymptomatic carriage in both studies. 
  • “Controversial” (DANMASK)  trial may show that masks protect the wearer here  (BMJ blog posting) Bayesian analysis of the DANMASK-19 trial alone shows an 81% probability of fewer infections among those encouraged to wear a mask 
  • Healthcare worker perceptions and attitudes on N95 respirator reuse here
  • Update to a living rapid review on COVID-19 in health care workers here “There was no new evidence for masks, other personal protective equipment, or other risk factors, including infection control training and education” 
  • Cycle threshold (Ct) values and infectivity of SARS-CoV-2 on surfaces here
  • Silver linings of the COVID-19 pandemic from an infection prevention and control perspective here  Canadian data- we present local data demonstrating reduction in hospital acquired infection, recognizing that our hospitals’ acuity and volumes reduced due to pandemic preparation.


  • The Cochrane Library released a systematic review on interventions to support resilience of healthcare workers during and after a pandemic here
  • The Canadian National Collaborating Centre for Methods and Tools released an update on the risk of COVID-19 transmission across different indoor settings here

Guidance and reports

  • Cochrane review: Physical interventions to interrupt or reduce the spread of respiratory viruses here and associated editorial here
  • The World Health Organization published guidance on technical PPE specifications here
  • The US Agency for Health Research and Quality (AHRQ) updated its living rapid review on masks for prevention of COVID-19 in community and healthcare settings hereNo new evidence cited.
  • The World Health Organization released interim guidance on:
    • Prevention, identification and management of health worker infection in the context of COVID-19 here
    • Infection prevention and control health-care facility response for COVID-19 here
    • Safe environments for patients and staff in COVID-19 health-care facilities here

About mdjkf

Microbiologist and Infectious Diseases Physician
This entry was posted in Infection prev & control and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

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