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Article

Clinical Presentation, Course, and Risk Factors Associated with Mortality in a Severe Outbreak of COVID-19 in Rhode Island, USA, April–June 2020

1
Infectious Diseases Division, Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University, Providence, RI 02903, USA
2
Medicine and Long-Term Care Associates Llc., Cranston, RI 02920, USA
3
Rhode Island Department of Health Division of Preparedness, Response, Infectious disease and Emergency Medical Services (PRIDEMS), Providence, RI 02908, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Authors contributed equally to this work.
Pathogens 2021, 10(1), 8; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens10010008
Received: 7 November 2020 / Revised: 8 December 2020 / Accepted: 21 December 2020 / Published: 24 December 2020
(This article belongs to the Collection SARS-CoV Infections)
Long-term care facilities (LTCFs) have had a disproportionally high mortality rate due to COVID-19. We describe a rapidly escalating COVID-19 outbreak among 116 LTCF residents in Rhode Island, USA. Overall, 111 (95.6%) residents tested positive and, of these, 48 (43.2%) died. The most common comorbidities were hypertension (84.7%) and cardiovascular disease (84.7%). A small percentage (9%) of residents were asymptomatic, while 33.3% of residents were pre-symptomatic, with progression to symptoms within a median of three days following the positive test. While typical symptoms of fever (80.2%) and cough (43.2%) were prevalent, shortness of breath (14.4%) was rarely found despite common hypoxemia (95.5%). The majority of patients demonstrated atypical symptoms with the most common being loss of appetite (61.3%), lethargy (42.3%), diarrhea (37.8%), and fatigue (32.4%). Many residents had increased agitation (38.7%) and anxiety (5.4%), potentially due to the restriction measures or the underlying mental illness. The fever curve was characterized by an intermittent low-grade fever, often the first presenting symptom. Mortality was associated with a disease course beginning with a loss of appetite and lethargy, as well as one more often involving fever greater than 38 °C, loss of appetite, altered mental status, diarrhea, and respiratory distress. Interestingly, no differences in age or comorbidities were noted between survivors and non-survivors. Taking demographic factors into account, treatment with anticoagulation was still associated with reduced mortality (adjusted OR 0.16; 95% C.I. 0.06–0.39; p < 0.001). Overall, the clinical features of the disease in this population can be subtle and the symptoms are commonly atypical. However, clinical decline among those who did not survive was often rapid with patients expiring within 10 days from disease detection. Further studies are needed to better explain the variability in clinical course of COVID-19 among LTCF residents, specifically the factors affecting mortality, the differences observed in symptom presentation, and rate of clinical decline. View Full-Text
Keywords: COVID-19; LTCF; nursing homes; pandemic COVID-19; LTCF; nursing homes; pandemic
MDPI and ACS Style

Atalla, E.; Zhang, R.; Shehadeh, F.; Mylona, E.K.; Tsikala-Vafea, M.; Kalagara, S.; Henseler, L.; Chan, P.A.; Mylonakis, E. Clinical Presentation, Course, and Risk Factors Associated with Mortality in a Severe Outbreak of COVID-19 in Rhode Island, USA, April–June 2020. Pathogens 2021, 10, 8. https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens10010008

AMA Style

Atalla E, Zhang R, Shehadeh F, Mylona EK, Tsikala-Vafea M, Kalagara S, Henseler L, Chan PA, Mylonakis E. Clinical Presentation, Course, and Risk Factors Associated with Mortality in a Severe Outbreak of COVID-19 in Rhode Island, USA, April–June 2020. Pathogens. 2021; 10(1):8. https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens10010008

Chicago/Turabian Style

Atalla, Eleftheria, Raina Zhang, Fadi Shehadeh, Evangelia K. Mylona, Maria Tsikala-Vafea, Saisanjana Kalagara, Laura Henseler, Philip A. Chan, and Eleftherios Mylonakis. 2021. "Clinical Presentation, Course, and Risk Factors Associated with Mortality in a Severe Outbreak of COVID-19 in Rhode Island, USA, April–June 2020" Pathogens 10, no. 1: 8. https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens10010008

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