(Reuters) – Nursing home residents on kidney dialysis had roughly three times the rate of COVID-19 compared to those not receiving treatment, U.S. health researchers found in a study of a Maryland facility.
The study is based on data during an active coronavirus outbreak in April, when the nursing home reported its first COVID-19 case. At the time, around half the nursing homes in the state had active outbreaks.
Some 47% of residents receiving dialysis (15 of 32) had positive test results for COVID-19, compared to 16% of those not receiving dialysis (22 of 138), researchers reported in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report on Tuesday.
The 30-day hospitalization rate and mortality were significantly higher among COVID-19 patients receiving dialysis.
The researchers, including those from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, and CDC’s COVID-19 response team, said residents on dialysis might be at greater risk as they regularly leave the facility for treatment and could be exposed to other dialysis patients and staff members at dialysis centers.
These patients could also be bringing the infection back into the facility.
Dialysis patients often have underlying medical conditions associated with more severe coronavirus infections, including diabetes, hypertension, and heart disease, the report noted.
While the study cannot identify a definitive source for the Maryland nursing home outbreak, or trace the chain of transmission, it points to the need for dialysis centers and nursing homes to closely review the entire dialysis process – from the time residents leave the facility to when they are discharged after dialysis, the report said.
The researchers also advocate giving dialysis patients their own rooms, use of masks and improved ventilation during transportation to protect this particularly vulnerable population.
SOURCE: https://bit.ly/2F7z3IS MMWR, online August 11, 2020.