Symptoms not enough for 911 COVID-19 screening, study finds

  • Source: Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy
  • Published: 07/09/2020 12:00 AM

Screening based on conventional COVID-19 symptoms may not be sensitive enough to identify which 911 patients should be tested for infection, a retrospective cohort study published today in JAMA Network Open found. In the study, researchers in Seattle evaluated data from surveillance systems and the electronic medical records of 124 patients with COVID-19 seeking 911 emergency medical services (EMS) in King County, Washington, from Feb 1 to Mar 18. Most 911 calls were classified by dispatchers as illness of unknown origin (41 of 147 encounters [28%]), difficulty breathing (25%), trauma (15%), and infectious disease (12.9%). But in 91 dispatches (62%), patients didn't report any of these issues.


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