April 27, 2021

AIMS Cameroon 2019 Alumnus HENRI CHRISTIAN JUNIOR TSOUNGUI OBAMA & Co-Researchers Say Regular Testing of Employees in Closed Facilities Can Reduce COVID-19 Infections

The global COVID-19 pandemic that emerged in Wuhan, China in December 2019 was declared a Public Health Emergency of International Concern by the WHO Director-General in late January 2020 and drastically changed the way of living across the globe. Different levels of control measures were introduced to contain the global COVID-19 pandemic, many of which have been controversial, particularly the comprehensive use of diagnostic tests.

Regular testing of high-risk individuals (pre-existing conditions, older than 60 years of age) has been suggested by public health authorities. The WHO even went further to suggest the use of routine screening of residents, employees, and visitors of long-term care facilities (LTCF) to protect the resident risk group.

AIMS Cameroon 2019 alumnus Henri Christian Junior Tsoungui Obama of the Department of Applied Computer and Biosciences, University of Applied Sciences Mittweida in Germany and co-researchers from several universities in Cameroon, Israel and the USA used the simulation model underlying the pandemic preparedness tool CovidSim 1.1 (http://covidsim.eu/) to investigate the effect of regularly testing of employees to protect immobile resident risk groups in closed facilities and the reduction in the number of infections and deaths within the risk group.

Their findings just published in a Research Article titled: “Preventing COVID-19 Spread in Closed Facilities by Regular Testing of Employees — An efficient Intervention in Long-Term Care Facilities and Prisons?” indicate that testing every 5 days with a good quality test and a processing time of 24 hours can lead up to a 40% reduction in the number of infections. They therefore concluded that the introduction of COVID-19 in closed facilities is unavoidable without a thorough screening of persons that can introduce the disease into the facility. Infact, regular testing of employees in closed facilities can contribute to reducing the number of infections there, but is only meaningful as an accompanying measure, whose economic benefit needs to be assessed carefully.

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