MMWR News Synopsis
Friday, April 9, 2021
- Use of Real-Time PCR for Chlamydia psittaci Detection in Human Specimens During an Outbreak of Psittacosis — Georgia and Virginia, 2018
- COVID-19 Incidence and Mortality Among American Indian/Alaska Native and White Persons — Montana, March 13–November 30, 2020
- Use of Stay-at-Home Orders and Mask Mandates to Control COVID-19 Transmission — Blackfeet Tribal Reservation, Montana June–December 2020
- Provisional Mortality Data — United States, 2020 (Early Release March 31, 2021)
- Death Certificate–Based ICD-10 Diagnosis Codes for COVID-19 Mortality Surveillance — United States, January–December 2020 (Early Release March 31, 2021)
- Community Transmission of SARS-CoV-2 Associated with a Local Bar Opening Event — Illinois, February 2021 (Early Release April 5, 2021)
- Notes from the Field
- COVID-19 Stats
Use of Real-Time PCR for Chlamydia psittaci Detection in Human Specimens During an Outbreak of Psittacosis — Georgia and Virginia, 2018
CDC Media Relations
The findings of this outbreak investigation support prioritizing lower respiratory specimens over upper respiratory specimens for real-time PCR detection of bacteria that cause psittacosis, which can lead to mild illness or pneumonia (lung infection). This outbreak also provides preliminary evidence that stool specimens might be useful for diagnosis of this infection. CDC tested 54 specimens for the bacterium that causes psittacosis, Chlamydia psittaci, during the largest U.S. psittacosis outbreak in 30 years (82 cases identified). This was the largest number of human specimens ever tested for C. psittaci by real-time PCR from a single human outbreak. This represented a rare opportunity to assess the utility of multiple specimen types for this assay. C. psittaci was detected more frequently in lower respiratory specimens and stool than in upper respiratory specimens. That, along with other findings, supports prioritizing lower respiratory specimens over upper respiratory specimens for real-time PCR detection of C. psittaci. C. psittaci may not be detected if nasopharyngeal swab specimens alone are tested. This outbreak also provides preliminary evidence that stool may have utility for diagnosing this infection.
COVID-19 Incidence and Mortality Among American Indian/Alaska Native and White Persons — Montana, March 13–November 30, 2020
Jon Ebelt, MDPHHS Public Information Officer
Work Phone: 406-444-0936
Cell Phone: 406-461-3757
Email Address: JEbelt@mt.gov
An analysis of data from Montana found that the rate of new COVID-19 infections among American Indian or Alaska Native (AI/AN) people were more than twice the rate among white people, and that the rate of COVID-19 related deaths among AI/ANpeople were nearly four times the rate among white people. This report underscores that state-level surveillance can identify disparities among AI/AN or other minority communities to inform COVID-19 vaccine allocation strategies and help communities implement culturally responsive public health measures. During March–November 2020 in Montana, the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services (MDPHHS) analyzed reports of COVID-19 cases and COVID-19-associated deaths to compare rates of infection and death among people who are American Indian or Alaska Native (AI/AN) with rates among people who are white. The health department found that the rate of infection among AI/AN people was about two times that among white people. The rate of death among AI/AN people was about four times that among white people. Several factors might have contributed to the higher rates of infections and deaths among AI/AN people. AI/AN people in Montana might be more likely to become infected with COVID-19 because they are more likely to live in shared housing; because they are more likely to be essential workers and are unable to work from home; or because they are not able to telework due to a lack of Internet access. In addition, AI/AN people in Montana might be more at risk for severe illness from COVID-19 due to challenges accessing health care, and because COVID-19 risk factors, including heart disease, type 2 diabetes mellitus, and cigarette smoking, are common. State-level surveillance can identify disparities among AI/AN or other minority communities to inform state and tribal COVID-19 vaccine allocation strategies and help communities implement culturally responsive public health measures that might help reduce infections and deaths in these communities.
Use of Stay-at-Home Orders and Mask Mandates to Control COVID-19 Transmission — Blackfeet Tribal Reservation, Montana June–December 2020
CDC Media Relations
In the Blackfeet Tribal Reservation in Montana, implementation and strict enforcement of stay-at-home orders and requirements to wear masks in public were associated with a 33-fold decrease in the rate of new COVID-19 cases. The decrease suggests that implementing and enforcing stay-at-home orders and mask requirements, along with ongoing case investigation and contract tracing, likely helped slow the spread of COVID-19 in the Blackfeet Tribal Reservation. The Blackfeet Tribal Reservation, an independent nation in northern Montana with an estimated population of 10,629 people, detected their first COVID-19 case in the community on June 16, 2020. The Blackfeet Tribal Business Council mandated community prevention strategies and investigated the relationship between these strategies and changes in the daily rates of COVID-19. Three stay-at-home orders were issued: a mandatory order from June 29-July 31; a recommended order on August 19; and an enforced order on September 28, with penalties of incarceration and fines up to $5,000. These measures, in combination with wearing face masks, physical distancing, instituting remote learning, closing Glacier National Park’s east gate, isolation of cases, contact tracing, and immediate quarantine after exposure, contributed to rates of COVID-19 in the community decreasing from its peak of 6.4 cases per 1,000 residents per day to 0.2 cases per 1,000 residents (a 33-fold decrease) during October 5—November 7, 2020. Their investigation also indicated that increases in COVID-19 cases followed relaxation of stay-at-home orders, the opening of campgrounds, and gatherings at the Northwest Montana Fair and Rodeo and during Labor Day weekend. Implementing and strictly enforcing stay-at-home orders and mask requirements, along with ongoing case investigation and contract tracing, contributed to a decrease in rates of COVID-19 in the Blackfeet Tribal Reservation.
CDC Media Relations
Death Certificate–Based ICD-10 Diagnosis Codes for COVID-19 Mortality Surveillance — United States, January–December 2020 (Early Release March 31, 2021)
CDC Media Relations
Community Transmission of SARS-CoV-2 Associated with a Local Bar Opening Event — Illinois, February 2021 (Early Release April 5, 2021)
CDC Media Relations
- COVID-19 Case Investigation and Contact Tracing Program — Spirit Lake Tribe, North Dakota, September–November 2020
In response to a rapid increase in new COVID-19 cases on the Spirit Lake Reservation, CDC assisted the Spirit Lake Tribe in building a tribally managed COVID-19 case investigation and contract tracing program that successfully supported effective isolation, quarantine, and symptom monitoring, and contributed to timely case and contact management. This program might help inform the development and implementation of similar programs in other tribes and other communities. The Spirit Lake Tribe is a sovereign nation in East Central North Dakota with over 7,500 members. In late September 2020, rates of COVID-19 in North Dakota increased rapidly, resulting in the North Dakota Department of Health reporting backlogs in their contact tracing efforts. After rates of COVID-19 increased among members of the Spirit Lake Tribe, CDC helped the tribe build a tribally-managed program for comprehensive COVID-19 case investigations, case notification, contact tracing, and contact management to ensure timely implementation of these critical prevention and control measures. Overall, 80% of patients with confirmed COVID-19 and 78% of close contacts who did not receive a COVID-19 diagnosis were contacted by program staff and instructed to isolate or quarantine. The proportion of new confirmed COVID-19 cases from known contacts was 41%. During the assessment period, rates of COVID-19 in Spirit Lake plateaued. During the same period, however, a 1.5-fold increase occurred statewide in North Dakota. These findings show that this tribally-managed COVID-19 case investigation and contact tracing program effectively reached affected tribal members to support effective isolation, quarantine, and symptom monitoring and contributed to timely case and contact management.
- College and University COVID-19 Student Testing Protocols, by Mode of Instruction (N = 1,849) — United States, Spring 2021
During spring 2021, data collected on COVID-19 testing protocols from more than 1,800 U.S. colleges and universities showed that testing protocols differed by class instruction type. About half of colleges and universities did not publish a testing protocol for screening students without symptoms. Although spread from people without symptoms is estimated to account for about half of COVID-19 transmission, 51% of colleges and universities did not publish a testing protocol for screening students without symptoms in spring 2021.
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