Suwono B, Steffen A, Schweickert B, Schönfeld V, Brandl M, Sandfort M, Willrich N, Eckmanns T, Haller S
Lancet Reg Health Eur - (-) 100303 [2022-01-14; online 2022-01-14]
Outbreaks of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in hospitals and long-term care facilities (LTCFs) pose serious public health threats. We analysed how frequency and size of SARS-CoV-2 outbreaks in hospitals and LTCFs have altered since the beginning of the pandemic, in particular since the start of the vaccination campaign. We used mandatory notification data on SARS-CoV-2 cases in Germany and stratified by outbreak cases in hospitals and LTCFs. German vaccination coverage data were analysed. We studied the association of the occurrence of SARS-CoV-2 outbreaks and outbreak cases with SARS-CoV-2 cases in Germany throughout the four pandemic waves. We built also counterfactual scenarios with the first pandemic wave as the baseline. By 21 September 2021, there were 4,147,387 SARS-CoV-2 notified cases since March 2020. About 20% of these cases were reported as being related to an outbreak, with 1% of the cases in hospitals and 4% in LTCFs. The median number of outbreak cases in the different phases was smaller (≤5) in hospitals than in LTCFs (>10). In the first and second pandemic waves, we observed strong associations in both facility types between SARS-CoV-2 outbreak cases and total number of notified SARS-CoV-2 cases. However, during the third pandemic wave we observed a decline in outbreak cases in both facility types and only a weak association between outbreak cases and all cases. The vaccination campaign and non-pharmaceutical interventions have been able to protect vulnerable risk groups in hospitals and LTCFs. No specific funding.