Population-Based Assessment of Contact Tracing Operations for Coronavirus Disease 2019 in Pirkanmaa Hospital District, Finland

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Abstract

Background: The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) epidemic overwhelmed local contact tracing (CT) efforts in many countries. In Finland, severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 incidence and mortality were among the lowest in Europe during 2020-2021. We evaluated CT efficiency, effectiveness, and transmission settings.

Methods: Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test-positive COVID-19 cases and high-risk contacts in the population-based CT database of Pirkanmaa Hospital District (population 540 000) during June 2020-May 2021 were interviewed.

Results: Altogether 353 926 PCR tests yielded 4739 (1.3%) confirmed cases (average 14-day case notification rate, 34 per 100 000 population); about 99% of confirmed cases and high-risk contacts were reached by a CT team. Of 26 881 high-risk contacts who were placed in quarantine, 2275 subsequently tested positive (48% of new cases), 825 (17%) had been in quarantine ≥48 hours before symptoms, and 3469 (77%) of locally acquired cases were part of transmission chains with an identified setting. The highest secondary attack rates were seen in households (31%), healthcare patients (18%), and private functions (10%). Among the 311 hospitalized patients, COVID-19 diagnosis or exposure was known in 273 (88%) before emergency room admission (identified patients). Healthcare workers had the highest proportion of work-related infections (159 cases [35%]). The source of infection was classifiable in 65% and was most commonly a coworker (64 cases [62%]).

Conclusions: Our data demonstrate the role of effective testing and CT implementation during the cluster phase of COVID-19 spread. Although half of newly diagnosed cases were already in quarantine, targeted public health measures were needed to control transmission. CT effectiveness during widespread community transmission should be assessed.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberofac214
JournalOpen Forum Infectious Diseases
Volume9
Issue number7
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 21 Apr 2022
Publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

Publication forum classification

  • Publication forum level 1

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