Here's how a Hong Kong hospital tested 1,275 for coronavirus, and no employees got sick

A hospital in Hong Kong reported zero healthcare workers contracted the new coronavirus while it tested 1,275 suspected cases and treated 42 confirmed cases of the virus, a new study shows.

Researchers from Queen Mary Hospital in Hong Kong detailed its strategies for protecting healthcare workers in the first six weeks of the COVID-19 outbreak. They published their research in the Infection Control & Hospital Epidemiology.

The hospital stepped up infection control measures, including training on personal protective equipment use, staff forums on infection control, face-to-face education sessions and regular hand-hygiene compliance assessments.

It also increased the use of personal protective equipment for healthcare workers performing procedures that generate aerosol, such as endotracheal intubation.

Additionally, Hong Kong's 43 public hospitals expanded patient screening criteria to include factors such as visits to hospitals in mainland China once the first reports of the outbreak came out in January. Patients suspected of having COVID-19 were immediately isolated in airborne infection isolation rooms or wards with adequate space between patients.

None of the healthcare workers at Queen Mary Hospital contracted COVID-19 or other hospital-acquired infections. Eleven of 413 healthcare workers who treated confirmed cases experienced unprotected exposure and were quarantined for 14 days. But none of them became ill.

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