To describe the diagnosis, symptomatology and disease course of COVID-19 in nursing home (NH) residents in the Netherlands.
Prospective cohort study.
Data on NH residents with suspected COVID-19 were collected from the electronic patient records. Data were collected on diagnostic status (COVID-19: confirmed/excluded (using the RT-PCR test)), symptomatology (typical/atypical and other symptoms, body temperature and oxygen saturation) and, in the case of confirmed COVID-19, on disease course (recovered/clinically improved/deteriorated, deceased). We described and compared the symptomatology in NH residents with confirmed COVID-19 and NH residents in whom COVID-19 had been excluded. We also analysed mortality risk using survival analysis. We used registrations from the period 18 March to15 April 2020 for this study.
We reported on 1,969 NH residents with suspected COVID-19. The diagnosis was confirmed in 857 patients (43.5%); diagnosis was excluded in 1,112 (56.5%) patients. Among patients with confirmed COVID-19, 65% had coughs, 70% had fever, 33% had shortness of breath, 28% had delirium/confusion and 10% had a sore throat; in patients in whom COVID-19 was excluded these symptoms were experienced in 70%, 47%, 45%, 26% and 13% of patients, respectively. Of the patients with confirmed COVID-19, 48% died within 30 days (95% CI: 36-44%), versus 20% of the patients in whom COVID-19 was excluded (95% CI: 11-15%).
There is a lot of overlap in symptomatology between NH residents with COVID-19 and those with other acute diseases. An RT-PCR test is required to be able to make the distinction better. The mortality risk in patients with confirmed COVID-19 is significantly higher than in patients in whom covid-19 is excluded.
Conflict of interest and financial support: none declared.