The Disproportionate Impact of COVID-19 Pandemic on Healthcare-Associated Infections in Community Hospitals: Need for Expanding the Infectious Disease Workforce

Dr. Sonali Advani led a team of DICON, Duke, and UNC faculty and staff on this CDC Epicenters Program project that shows that the pandemic had a disproportionately larger impact on healthcare-associated infections in smaller community hospitals, most of which lack ID physician expertise. 

The COVID-19 pandemic had a considerable impact on US healthcare systems, straining hospital resources, staff, and operations. However, a comprehensive assessment of the impact on healthcare associated infections (HAIs) across different hospitals with varying level of infectious disease (ID) physician expertise, resources, and infrastructure is lacking.

The team found that CLABSIs, VAEs, and CDIs increased significantly during the pandemic, especially in smaller community hospitals, most of which lack ID physician expertise. Future efforts should focus on better understanding challenges faced by community hospitals, strengthening infection prevention infrastructure, and expanding the ID workforce, particularly to community hospitals.

This article was published in Clinical Infectious Diseases.