Feasibility and safety of a symptom-based strategy to discontinue infection control precautions for patients hospitalised with COVID-19 – a retrospective study

  • Gaël Grandmaison Division of internal Medicine, HFR Fribourg, Fribourg, Switzerland
  • Marine Baumberger Division of internal Medicine, HFR Fribourg, Fribourg, Switzerland
  • Charlotte Pellaud Division of internal Medicine, HFR Fribourg, Fribourg, Switzerland
  • Véronique Erard Division of Infectiology, HFR Fribourg, Fribourg, Switzerland
  • Christian Chuard Division of Infectiology, HFR Fribourg, Fribourg, Switzerland
Keywords: COVID-19, infection control, hospitals, feasibility studies, symptom-based strategy, Switzerland


Background: Various recommendations exist concerning the discontinuation of contact and droplet precautions (CDP) for patients hospitalised with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). Some are based on repeated negative real-time polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) results, whereas other are based on clinical criteria. The feasibility and safety of these recommendations are poorly documented.

Method: We conducted a retrospective study to assess the feasibility and safety of a symptom-based strategy to discontinue CDP for patients hospitalised with COVID-19. We reviewed the clinical charts of all symptomatic patients hospitalised in our institution with RT-PCR-confirmed COVID-19 to assess the application of a symptom-based strategy for the implementation and discontinuation of CDP. The patients with discontinuation of CDP in accordance with the symptom-based strategy were cross-referenced with patients with potential hospital-acquired COVID-19 in order to assess the safety of this strategy.

Results: Among the 147 patients included in our study, our symptom-based strategy was respected in 95 cases (64.6%). Discontinuation of CDP in accordance with the recommendations occurred in 39 patients (26.5%). After the discontinuation of CDP, patients remained hospitalised for a median time of 18 days, with exposure to a median number of three patients, resulting in a total number of 588 days ‘patient-day-exposition’. No hospital-acquired COVID-19 was detected in contact patients.

Discussion: The use of a symptom-based strategy to discontinue CDP is applicable and safe. This symptom-based strategy was applicable regardless of patient’s age or COVID-19 severity.


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How to Cite
Grandmaison, G., Baumberger, M., Pellaud, C., Erard, V., & Chuard, C. (2021). Feasibility and safety of a symptom-based strategy to discontinue infection control precautions for patients hospitalised with COVID-19 – a retrospective study. International Journal of Infection Control, 17(1). https://doi.org/10.3396/ijic.v17.20601
Original Articles