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Triaging patients in the outbreak of the 2019 novel coronavirus

By Guoqing Huang, Weiqian Zeng, Wenbo Wang, Yanmin Song, Xiaoye Mo, Jia Li, Ping Wu, Ruolong Wang, Fangyi Zhou, Jing Wu, Bin Yi, Zeng Xiong, Lu Zhou, Fanqi Wang, Yangjing Tian, Wenbao Hu, Xia Xu, Ruonan Zhai, Kai Yuan, Xiangmin Li, Xinjian Qiu, Jian Qiu, Aimin Wang

Posted 16 Mar 2020
medRxiv DOI: 10.1101/2020.03.13.20035212

In the end of 2019, the epidemic of a new coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) occurred in Wuhan and spread rapidly. Changsha, a city located south to the epicenter, was soon impacted. To control the transmission of the coronavirus and avoid nosocomial infection, triage procedures based on epidemiology were implemented in a local hospital of the city. This retrospective study analyzed the data collected during the triage period and found that COVID-19 patients were enriched seven folds into the Section A designated for rapid detection and quarantine. On the other side, roughly triple amounts of visits were received at the Section B for patients without obvious epidemiological history. Eight COVID-19 cases were spotted out of 247 suspected patients. More than 50% of the suspected patients were submitted to multiple rounds of nucleic acid analysis for SARS-CoV-2 infection. Of the 239 patients who were diagnosed as negative of the virus infection,188 were successfully revisited and none was reported as a COVID-19 case. Of the eight COVID-19 patients, three were confirmed only after multiple rounds of nucleic acid analysis. Besides comorbidities, delayed sharing of epidemiological history added another layer of complexity to the diagnosis in practice. While SARS-CoV-2 epidemic is being alerted in many countries, our report will be helpful to other colleagues in rapid identification of COVID-19 cases and controlling the transmission of the disease.

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