Technology and Data Utilization Against COVID-19 Outbreaks

Prism Health Lab offers anterior nasal swab collection and saliva collection methods, providing an easy and comfortable sample collection experience based on resident and staff needs. Samples are run on state-of-the-art high-throughput molecular platforms following a protocol pioneered by the Yale School of Public Health. When appropriate and indicated, a rapid respiratory panel that detects COVID-19, Respiratory Syncytial Virus, Influenza A, and Influenza B can be utilized. Additionally, automated robotic processing and efficient protocols allow for results to be available digitally within 24 hours of the lab’s receipt of samples.

We utilize reverse-transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) testing to detect COVID-19. In a study that compared the sensitivity of rapid antigen kits and RT-PCR, it was demonstrated that RT-PCR tests are more effective at detecting COVID-19 . The sensitivity of home antigen tests during the infectious period was only 50% compared to RT-PCR; even at its peak, four days after symptom onset, the sensitivity of the antigen tests only reached 77%. While it improved with a repeated test, it still did not match the effectiveness of RT-PCR.

Leveraging data on new COVID-19 cases from communities and LTCs (available on data.cdc.gov and data.cms.gov), we monitor outbreak occurrences. Understanding historical data and applying statistical analysis, we can identify trends and patterns in case rates, which helps us identify the potential for an upcoming outbreak.

Prism Health Lab presents these considerations after managing numerous outbreaks in LTC facilities and other congregate settings. Give us a call at (888) 977-4086 or send an email to LTCSTAT@prism.org to learn more.