A new report from researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and reported in the Journal of Infection Control & Hospital Epidemiology, found a rise in non-Covid infections in hospitals in 2020. The report refers to four types of health-care infections commonly tracked as core measures of hospital quality that increased significantly in 2020, compared with what would have been expected based on prior years’ rates. Bloomberg writes the increases show how the pandemic’s strain on hospitals affected other aspects of caring for patients. At the time, experts cautioned that the crisis conditions — reusing some personal protective equipment, improvising new intensive-care beds, assigning more patients to each nurse — would have consequences on quality of care. The pandemic conditions likely affected other measures of health-care quality as well.
The health-care industry has been trying to improve hospital safety for decades and reduce the rate at which patients contract infections in medical settings. Infection rates, sometimes linked to hospital reimbursements by the government, had been declining for years before the pandemic. Three types of infections linked to equipment attached to patients, like catheters and ventilators, rose sharply last year, according to the CDC report. The fourth was a measure of the antibiotic-resistant bacteria known as MRSA.