Characteristics of Adult Outpatients and Inpatients with COVID-19 - 11 Academic Medical Centers, United States, March-May 2020
Pulmonary/Critical Care Medicine
Descriptions of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in the United States have focused primarily on hospitalized patients. Reports documenting exposures to SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, have generally been described within congregate settings, such as meat and poultry processing plants (1) and long-term care facilities (2). Understanding individual behaviors and demographic characteristics of patients with COVID-19 and risks for severe illness requiring hospitalization can inform efforts to reduce transmission. During April 15-May 24, 2020, telephone interviews were conducted with a random sample of adults aged ≥18 years who had positive reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test results for SARS-CoV-2 in outpatient and inpatient settings at 11 U.S. academic medical centers in nine states. Respondents were contacted 14-21 days after SARS-CoV-2 testing and asked about their demographic characteristics, underlying chronic conditions, symptoms experienced on the date of testing, and potential exposures to SARS-CoV-2 during the 2 weeks before illness onset (or the date of testing among those who did not report symptoms at the time of testing). Among 350 interviewed patients (271 [77%] outpatients and 79 [23%] inpatients), inpatients were older, more likely to be Hispanic and to report dyspnea than outpatients. Fewer inpatients (39%, 20 of 51) reported a return to baseline level of health at 14-21 days than did outpatients (64%, 150 of 233) (p = 0.001). Overall, approximately one half (46%) of patients reported known close contact with someone with COVID-19 during the preceding 2 weeks. This was most commonly a family member (45%) or a work colleague (34%). Approximately two thirds (64%, 212 of 333) of participants were employed; only 35 of 209 (17%) were able to telework. These findings highlight the need for screening, case investigation, contact tracing, and isolation of infected persons to control transmission of SARS-CoV-2 infection during periods of community transmission. The need for enhanced measures to ensure workplace safety, including ensuring social distancing and more widespread use of cloth face coverings, are warranted (3).
Tenforde MW, Billig Rose E, Lindsell CJ, Shapiro NI, Files DC, Gibbs KW, Prekker ME, Steingrub JS, Smithline HA, Gong MN, Aboodi MS, Exline MC, Henning DJ, Wilson JG, Khan A, Qadir N, Stubblefield WB, Patel MM, Self WH, Feldstein LR; CDC COVID-19 Response Team. Characteristics of Adult Outpatients and Inpatients with COVID-19 - 11 Academic Medical Centers, United States, March-May 2020. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2020 Jul 3;69(26):841-846. doi: 10.15585/mmwr.mm6926e3.