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COVID-19 Study of Hospitalized Older Adults


  • CDC needed data on COVID-19’s effects on hospitalized older adults.
  • Abt compared COVID-19 positive and negative rural hospital patients.
  • Results informed public health guidance and decision-making.
The Challenge

Older adults are at high risk for contracting novel coronavirus and for developing severe illnesses if infected. To inform policy starting early in the COVID-19 pandemic, CDC needed more data on medical care for hospitalized patients 50 or older in rural health care systems. CDC also needed to compare health outcomes for hospitalized patients who tested negative for COVID-19 with those who tested positive.

The Approach

Abt monitored and described medical care and COVID-19 test results for hospitalized patients aged ≥50-years old in a rural health care system using electronic medical record data. Abt also conducted prospective enrollment and follow-up to study hospitalized test-positive study participants and matched test-negative controls. The study examined serologic indicators of infection, correlates of protection, and patterns of medical care and health outcomes among four age groups (50-64 years, 65-74 years, 75-84 years, and 85+ years old).

The Results

For older inpatients testing positive for COVID-19, having test results available in 3 hours or fewer was associated with a lower risk of preventable health outcomes, such as ICU admission, ventilator use, and septic shock. These results improved understanding of the clinical and operational impact of rapid molecular testing in hospital settings.