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      Restoring Pulmonary and Sleep Services as the COVID-19 Pandemic Lessens. From an Association of Pulmonary, Critical Care, and Sleep Division Directors and American Thoracic Society–coordinated Task Force

      , 1 , 2 , 3 , 4 , 5 , 6 , 7 , 8 , 9 , 10 , 11 , 2 , 12 , 13 , 14 , 15 , 16 , 17 , 9 , 18 , 19 , 19 , 20 , 21 , 22 , 14 , 23 , 24 , 25 , 26 , 1 , 27 , 28

      Annals of the American Thoracic Society

      American Thoracic Society

      COVID-19, SARS-CoV-2, pulmonary function tests, bronchoscopy, polysomnography

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          Background: In March 2020, many elective medical services were canceled in response to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. The daily case rate is now declining in many states and there is a need for guidance about the resumption of elective clinical services for patients with lung disease or sleep conditions.

          Methods: Volunteers were solicited from the Association of Pulmonary, Critical Care, and Sleep Division Directors and American Thoracic Society. Working groups developed plans by discussion and consensus for resuming elective services in pulmonary and sleep-medicine clinics, pulmonary function testing laboratories, bronchoscopy and procedure suites, polysomnography laboratories, and pulmonary rehabilitation facilities.

          Results: The community new case rate should be consistently low or have a downward trajectory for at least 14 days before resuming elective clinical services. In addition, institutions should have an operational strategy that consists of patient prioritization, screening, diagnostic testing, physical distancing, infection control, and follow-up surveillance. The goals are to protect patients and staff from exposure to the virus, account for limitations in staff, equipment, and space that are essential for the care of patients with COVID-19, and provide access to care for patients with acute and chronic conditions.

          Conclusions: Transmission of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is a dynamic process and, therefore, it is likely that the prevalence of COVID-19 in the community will wax and wane. This will impact an institution’s mitigation needs. Operating procedures should be frequently reassessed and modified as needed. The suggestions provided are those of the authors and do not represent official positions of the Association of Pulmonary, Critical Care, and Sleep Division Directors or the American Thoracic Society.

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          Most cited references 18

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          Aerosol and Surface Stability of SARS-CoV-2 as Compared with SARS-CoV-1

          To the Editor: A novel human coronavirus that is now named severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) (formerly called HCoV-19) emerged in Wuhan, China, in late 2019 and is now causing a pandemic. 1 We analyzed the aerosol and surface stability of SARS-CoV-2 and compared it with SARS-CoV-1, the most closely related human coronavirus. 2 We evaluated the stability of SARS-CoV-2 and SARS-CoV-1 in aerosols and on various surfaces and estimated their decay rates using a Bayesian regression model (see the Methods section in the Supplementary Appendix, available with the full text of this letter at NEJM.org). SARS-CoV-2 nCoV-WA1-2020 (MN985325.1) and SARS-CoV-1 Tor2 (AY274119.3) were the strains used. Aerosols (<5 μm) containing SARS-CoV-2 (105.25 50% tissue-culture infectious dose [TCID50] per milliliter) or SARS-CoV-1 (106.75-7.00 TCID50 per milliliter) were generated with the use of a three-jet Collison nebulizer and fed into a Goldberg drum to create an aerosolized environment. The inoculum resulted in cycle-threshold values between 20 and 22, similar to those observed in samples obtained from the upper and lower respiratory tract in humans. Our data consisted of 10 experimental conditions involving two viruses (SARS-CoV-2 and SARS-CoV-1) in five environmental conditions (aerosols, plastic, stainless steel, copper, and cardboard). All experimental measurements are reported as means across three replicates. SARS-CoV-2 remained viable in aerosols throughout the duration of our experiment (3 hours), with a reduction in infectious titer from 103.5 to 102.7 TCID50 per liter of air. This reduction was similar to that observed with SARS-CoV-1, from 104.3 to 103.5 TCID50 per milliliter (Figure 1A). SARS-CoV-2 was more stable on plastic and stainless steel than on copper and cardboard, and viable virus was detected up to 72 hours after application to these surfaces (Figure 1A), although the virus titer was greatly reduced (from 103.7 to 100.6 TCID50 per milliliter of medium after 72 hours on plastic and from 103.7 to 100.6 TCID50 per milliliter after 48 hours on stainless steel). The stability kinetics of SARS-CoV-1 were similar (from 103.4 to 100.7 TCID50 per milliliter after 72 hours on plastic and from 103.6 to 100.6 TCID50 per milliliter after 48 hours on stainless steel). On copper, no viable SARS-CoV-2 was measured after 4 hours and no viable SARS-CoV-1 was measured after 8 hours. On cardboard, no viable SARS-CoV-2 was measured after 24 hours and no viable SARS-CoV-1 was measured after 8 hours (Figure 1A). Both viruses had an exponential decay in virus titer across all experimental conditions, as indicated by a linear decrease in the log10TCID50 per liter of air or milliliter of medium over time (Figure 1B). The half-lives of SARS-CoV-2 and SARS-CoV-1 were similar in aerosols, with median estimates of approximately 1.1 to 1.2 hours and 95% credible intervals of 0.64 to 2.64 for SARS-CoV-2 and 0.78 to 2.43 for SARS-CoV-1 (Figure 1C, and Table S1 in the Supplementary Appendix). The half-lives of the two viruses were also similar on copper. On cardboard, the half-life of SARS-CoV-2 was longer than that of SARS-CoV-1. The longest viability of both viruses was on stainless steel and plastic; the estimated median half-life of SARS-CoV-2 was approximately 5.6 hours on stainless steel and 6.8 hours on plastic (Figure 1C). Estimated differences in the half-lives of the two viruses were small except for those on cardboard (Figure 1C). Individual replicate data were noticeably “noisier” (i.e., there was more variation in the experiment, resulting in a larger standard error) for cardboard than for other surfaces (Fig. S1 through S5), so we advise caution in interpreting this result. We found that the stability of SARS-CoV-2 was similar to that of SARS-CoV-1 under the experimental circumstances tested. This indicates that differences in the epidemiologic characteristics of these viruses probably arise from other factors, including high viral loads in the upper respiratory tract and the potential for persons infected with SARS-CoV-2 to shed and transmit the virus while asymptomatic. 3,4 Our results indicate that aerosol and fomite transmission of SARS-CoV-2 is plausible, since the virus can remain viable and infectious in aerosols for hours and on surfaces up to days (depending on the inoculum shed). These findings echo those with SARS-CoV-1, in which these forms of transmission were associated with nosocomial spread and super-spreading events, 5 and they provide information for pandemic mitigation efforts.
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            Presymptomatic SARS-CoV-2 Infections and Transmission in a Skilled Nursing Facility

            Abstract Background Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection can spread rapidly within skilled nursing facilities. After identification of a case of Covid-19 in a skilled nursing facility, we assessed transmission and evaluated the adequacy of symptom-based screening to identify infections in residents. Methods We conducted two serial point-prevalence surveys, 1 week apart, in which assenting residents of the facility underwent nasopharyngeal and oropharyngeal testing for SARS-CoV-2, including real-time reverse-transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (rRT-PCR), viral culture, and sequencing. Symptoms that had been present during the preceding 14 days were recorded. Asymptomatic residents who tested positive were reassessed 7 days later. Residents with SARS-CoV-2 infection were categorized as symptomatic with typical symptoms (fever, cough, or shortness of breath), symptomatic with only atypical symptoms, presymptomatic, or asymptomatic. Results Twenty-three days after the first positive test result in a resident at this skilled nursing facility, 57 of 89 residents (64%) tested positive for SARS-CoV-2. Among 76 residents who participated in point-prevalence surveys, 48 (63%) tested positive. Of these 48 residents, 27 (56%) were asymptomatic at the time of testing; 24 subsequently developed symptoms (median time to onset, 4 days). Samples from these 24 presymptomatic residents had a median rRT-PCR cycle threshold value of 23.1, and viable virus was recovered from 17 residents. As of April 3, of the 57 residents with SARS-CoV-2 infection, 11 had been hospitalized (3 in the intensive care unit) and 15 had died (mortality, 26%). Of the 34 residents whose specimens were sequenced, 27 (79%) had sequences that fit into two clusters with a difference of one nucleotide. Conclusions Rapid and widespread transmission of SARS-CoV-2 was demonstrated in this skilled nursing facility. More than half of residents with positive test results were asymptomatic at the time of testing and most likely contributed to transmission. Infection-control strategies focused solely on symptomatic residents were not sufficient to prevent transmission after SARS-CoV-2 introduction into this facility.
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              Medically Necessary, Time-Sensitive Procedures: Scoring System to Ethically and Efficiently Manage Resource Scarcity and Provider Risk During the COVID-19 Pandemic

              Hospitals have severely curtailed the performance of nonurgent surgical procedures in anticipation of the need to redeploy healthcare resources to meet the projected massive medical needs of patients with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). Surgical treatment of non-COVID-19 related disease during this period, however, still remains necessary. The decision to proceed with medically necessary, time-sensitive (MeNTS) procedures in the setting of the COVID-19 pandemic requires incorporation of factors (resource limitations, COVID-19 transmission risk to providers and patients) heretofore not overtly considered by surgeons in the already complicated processes of clinical judgment and shared decision-making. We describe a scoring system that systematically integrates these factors to facilitate decision-making and triage for MeNTS procedures, and appropriately weighs individual patient risks with the ethical necessity of optimizing public health concerns. This approach is applicable across a broad range of hospital settings (academic and community, urban and rural) in the midst of the pandemic and may be able to inform case triage as operating room capacity resumes once the acute phase of the pandemic subsides.

                Author and article information

                Ann Am Thorac Soc
                Ann Am Thorac Soc
                Annals of the American Thoracic Society
                American Thoracic Society
                November 2020
                November 2020
                November 2020
                : 17
                : 11
                : 1343-1351
                [ 1 ]Boston University School of Medicine, Boston, Massachusetts
                [ 2 ]University of Vermont, Burlington, Vermont
                [ 3 ]New York University, New York, New York
                [ 4 ]West Virginia University, Morgantown, West Virginia
                [ 5 ]Brown University School of Medicine, Providence, Rhode Island
                [ 6 ]Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio
                [ 7 ]University of California, Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California
                [ 8 ]University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco, California
                [ 9 ]University of California, San Diego, San Diego, California
                [ 10 ]Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut
                [ 11 ]University of Kentucky, Lexington, Kentucky
                [ 12 ]National Jewish Hospital, Denver, Colorado
                [ 13 ]University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada
                [ 14 ]University of Washington, Seattle, Washington
                [ 15 ]St. Joseph Hospital, Nashua, New Hampshire
                [ 16 ]Hankinson Consulting, Inc., Athens, Georgia
                [ 17 ]Duke University, Durham, North Carolina
                [ 18 ]ERT, Inc., Matthews, North Carolina
                [ 19 ]Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland
                [ 20 ]Seattle Children’s Hospital, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington
                [ 21 ]University of Mississippi Medical Center, Jackson, Mississippi
                [ 22 ]Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland, Ohio
                [ 23 ]VA Puget Sound Health Care System, Seattle,Washington
                [ 24 ]Sick Kids, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
                [ 25 ]University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Population Health, Madison, Wisconsin
                [ 26 ]Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
                [ 27 ]VA Boston Healthcare System, Boston, Massachusetts; and
                [ 28 ]Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York, New York
                Author notes
                Correspondence and requests for reprints should be addressed to Kevin C. Wilson, M.D., Documents Department, American Thoracic Society, 20 Broadway, New York, NY 10004. E-mail: kwilson@ 123456thoracic.org .
                Copyright © 2020 by the American Thoracic Society

                This article is open access and distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial No Derivatives License 4.0 ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/). For commercial usage and reprints, please contact Diane Gern ( dgern@ 123456thoracic.org ).

                Page count
                Figures: 2, Tables: 0, Pages: 9
                Workshop Report


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