Hospital-acquired Covid: 30% of deaths or severe cases have been infected at the hospital

Published by Elodie D. · Published on 22 March 2021 at 15h20
Catching coronavirus at the doctor or at the hospital? With 44,401 Covid-19 hospital-acquired cases reported, we knew Covid-19 will likely be a hospital-acquired disease. A Scottish study shows that 30% of people dead or several infected with coronavirus have caught the virus at the hospital.

Data stayed hidden in Santé Publique France’s reports: the French health facilities reported 44,401 hospital-acquired Covid-19 cases between January 1, 2020 and February 14, 2021. More precisely, 26,839 patients have caught Covid-19 during their care pathways, including 186 who died; 17,552 health professionals fell sick and 10 were patients’ visitors.

Even though hospital-acquired diseases are “common” and occur every year, a study conducted by Glasgow and Edinburg universities in Scotland will make more than one of you shudder. Their results (that should be treated cautiously as not peer-reviewed yet) show that about 30% of patients who died of Covid-19 or have been seriously sick have been exposed to the virus at the hospital. The rate of hospital-acquired covid tends to increase since December, at least in Scotland.

According to Pr. Helen Colhoun who participated in the study and interviewed by The Telegraph: “Although hospital transmission may account for a fairly small number of overall cases, it accounts for a substantial number of cases in the vulnerable that lead to serious consequences. That’s what needs to be fully appreciated at a policy level”. Their study tends to show that the risk of hospital-acquired infection risk shall be included in models: “unless we have a really full appreciation of how much infection has occurred within hospital settings we will not be prepared for next winter or prepared properly for the future”.

According to Jean-Christophe Lucet from Paris Hôpital Bichat infectious risk prevention team, interviewed by JDD on the matter, the study shall not be over-interpreted: “Searchers are relying on a wide definition from the fifth day past hospital admission […]. In this period of time, the origin of the infection can also be community-related, the disease breaking out at the hospital”.

Practical information