Of every 10 Covid-19 patients in hospital at least one and sometimes more caught the infection inside the health facility during the first wave of the pandemic in the UK, reveals a study published in The Lancet.
The study found that at least 11.1 percent of Covid-19 patients in 314 UK hospitals were infected after admission.
"We estimate between 5,699 and 11,862 patients admitted in the first wave were infected during their stay in hospital. This is, unfortunately, likely to be an underestimate, as we did not include patients who may have been infected but discharged before they could be diagnosed," the researchers said.
The proportion of Covid-19 patients infected in hospitals also rose to between 16 percent and 20 percent in mid-May 2020, long after the peak of admissions in the first wave.
"Controlling viruses like SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes Covid-19) has been difficult in the past, so the situation could have been much worse. However, infection control should remain a priority in hospitals and care facilities," said lead author Jonathan Read from Lancaster University.
For the study, the researchers examined records of Covid-19 patients in UK hospitals enrolled in the International Severe Acute Respiratory and Emerging Infections Consortium (ISARIC) Clinical Characterisation Protocol UK (CCP-UK) study, who became ill before August 1, 2020.
There were marked differences in the numbers of patients infected in the hospital according to the type of care provided.
Hospitals providing acute and general care had lower proportions of hospital-acquired infections (9.7 percent) than residential community care hospitals (61.9 percent) and mental health hospitals (67.5 percent), which reflects the outbreaks seen in care homes.