The global pandemic of coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) may disproportionately affect persons in congregate settings, including those in residential substance use treatment facilities. To limit the spread of SARS-CoV-2 through congregate settings, universal testing may be necessary. We aimed to determine the point prevalence of SARS-CoV-2 in a residential treatment program setting and to understand the unique challenges of Covid-19 transmission in this setting.
We performed a case series of SARS-CoV-2 rT-PCR testing via nasopharyngeal in a residential substance use treatment program for women in Boston. Staff and residents of the treatment program were tested for SARS-CoV-2. The primary outcome was SARS-CoV-2 test result.
A total of 31 residents and staff were tested. Twenty-seven percent (6/22) of the residents and 44% (4/9) of staff tested positive for SARS-CoV-2. All of the SARS-CoV-2 positive residents resided in the same residential unit. Two positive cases resided together with 2 negative cases in a 4-person room. Two other positive cases resided together in a 2-person room. One positive case resided with 2 negative cases in a 3-person room. One positive case resided with a negative case in a 2-person room. Based on test results, residents were cohorted by infection status and continued to participate in addiction treatment on-site.
SARS-CoV-2 infection was common among staff and residents within a residential substance use treatment program for women in Boston. Universal SARS-CoV-2 testing in residential substance use programs can be instituted to reduce the risk of further transmission and continue addiction treatment programming when accompanied by adequate space, supplies, and staffing.