COVID-19 outbreaks in congregate settings remain a serious threat to the health of disproportionately affected populations such as people experiencing incarceration or homelessness, the elderly, and essential workers. An individual-based model accounting for individual infectiousness over time, staff work schedules, and testing and isolation schedules was developed to simulate community transmission of SARS-CoV-2 to staff in a congregate facility and subsequent transmission within the facility that could cause an outbreak. Systematic testing strategies in which staff are tested on the first day of their workweek were found to prevent up to 16% more transmission events than testing strategies unrelated to staff schedules. Testing staff at the beginning of their workweek, implementing timely isolation following testing, limiting test turnaround time, and increasing test frequency in high transmission scenarios can supplement additional mitigation measures to aid outbreak prevention in congregate settings.
Aligning routine testing with work schedules among staff in carceral facilities and other congregate settings can enhance the early detection and isolation of COVID-19 cases, limiting the potential for staff to inadvertently trigger outbreaks in high-risk settings.
Hoover CM, Skaff NK, Blumberg S, Fukunaga R. Aligning staffing schedules with testing and isolation strategies reduces the risk of COVID-19 outbreaks in carceral and other congregate settings: A simulation study. medRxiv. Published online January 1, 2021:2021.10.22.21265396. doi:10.1101/2021.10.22.21265396