Background: The profound changes wrought by coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) on routine hospital operations may have influenced performance on hospital measures, including healthcare-associated infections (HAIs). We aimed to evaluate the association between COVID-19 surges and HAI and cluster rates. Methods: In 148 HCA Healthcare-affiliated hospitals, from 1 March 2020 to 30 September 2020, and a subset of hospitals with microbiology and cluster data through 31 December 2020, we evaluated the association between COVID-19 surges and HAIs, hospital-onset pathogens, and cluster rates using negative binomial mixed models. To account for local variation in COVID-19 pandemic surge timing, we included the number of discharges with a laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 diagnosis per staffed bed per month. Results: Central line-associated blood stream infections (CLABSI), catheter-associated urinary tract infections (CAUTI), and methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) bacteremia increased as COVID-19 burden increased. There were 60% (95% confidence interval [CI]: 23-108%) more CLABSI, 43% (95% CI: 8-90%) more CAUTI, and 44% (95% CI: 10-88%) more cases of MRSA bacteremia than expected over 7 months based on predicted HAIs had there not been COVID-19 cases. Clostridioides difficile infection was not significantly associated with COVID-19 burden. Microbiology data from 81 of the hospitals corroborated the findings. Notably, rates of hospital-onset bloodstream infections and multidrug resistant organisms, including MRSA, vancomycin-resistant enterococcus, and Gram-negative organisms, were each significantly associated with COVID-19 surges. Finally, clusters of hospital-onset pathogens increased as the COVID-19 burden increased. Conclusions: COVID-19 surges adversely impact HAI rates and clusters of infections within hospitals, emphasizing the need for balancing COVID-related demands with routine hospital infection prevention.
- catheter-associated urinary tract infection (CAUTI)
- central line-associated blood stream infection (CLABSI)
- healthcare-associated infections (HAI)
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Microbiology (medical)
- Infectious Diseases