Mortazavi SE, Inghammar M, Christiansen C, Pesola AK, Stenkilsson M, Paulsson M
Infect Dis . 2020 Dec 10;20(1):942. 22 (1) 536 [2022-06-13; online 2022-06-13]
To prevent nosocomial transmission of SARS-CoV-2, infection prevention control (IPC) measures are implemented for patients with symptoms compatible with COVID-19 until reliable test results are available. This delays admission to the most appropriate ward based on the medical condition. SARS-CoV-2 rapid antigen detection (RAD) tests and point-of-care (POC) rapid RT-PCR (VitaPCR) were introduced at emergency department (ED) at Skåne University Hospital, Sweden in late 2020, but the consequence on patient flow and targeted admission is unknown. Patients presenting at the emergency department of a referral hospital (N = 2940) between 13-Nov-2020 and 12-Jan-2021 were included. The study period was delimited into three periods by the introduction of RAD tests and the VitaPCR. Participant data was collected from hospital records, and outcome variables were Length-of-Stay (LoS), intrahospital transfers and targeted admission to COVID-19 ward. Compared to baseline (RT-PCR only), RAD tests reduced ED Length-of-Stay (LoS) for participants with positive tests. Negative VitaPCR results reduced mean hospital LoS by 1.5 (95% CI 0.3-2.7) days and admissions to COVID-19 wards from 34.5 (95% CI 28.9-40.5) to 14.7 (95% CI 11.1-19.1) per 100 admissions and reduced transfers between hospital wards in the first 5 days from 50.0 (95% CI 45.0-55.0) to 34.0 (95% CI 30.3-37.9) per 100 admissions. RAD tests enabled prompt detection of SARS-CoV-2 infection which had pronounced effects on LoS at the ED. Negative VitaPCR enabled cessation of IPC measures and a negative test was associated with increased targeted admissions, reduced intrahospital transfers and shorter LoS at the hospital.