Keywords: primary health care, pandemic response, covid-19, distance monitoring
Primary care can play an important role in the COVID-19 pandemic response by making an early diagnosis of COVID-19 infection in the community, reducing the demand for further hospital services and preventing further community transmission of the infection.
The study’s main objective is to evaluate the health progress of confirmed SARS-CoV2 cases with mild clinical presentation who were treated exclusively by primary care physicians and of close contacts with COVID-19 patients who were monitored during their quarantine.
This retrospective cohort study will be implemented by medical students as field researchers. It will be conducted in a semi-urban COVID-19 referral Health Centre in Northern Greece that faced heavy morbidity rates during the second pandemic wave. Anonymized data from patients’ medical records will be used to investigate risk determinants and the baseline characteristics of the COVID-19 patients in the community. Patients’ and close contacts data collected during regular distance monitoring throughout the whole quarantine period will be assessed regarding patients’ symptoms and clinical findings, risk factors, morbidity, duration and severity of symptoms and final outcome.
Currently, the study is at the recruitment stage. The primary outcomes will be related to monitoring the clinical course of patients with mild COVID-19 infection and that of close contacts of confirmed cases, assessing the risk factors of the disease and presenting the demographics of these patients. The analysis will be performed in order to associate the clinical course of patients with predictors for disease burden or comorbidity.
As this is an ongoing study, we aim to present crucial aspects of distance monitoring of patients with mild COVID-19 infection thus strengthening primary care services in implementing their role in the pandemic response and exploring their contribution to monitoring post-COVID-19 complications as a follow-up study is also planned.
Points for discussion:
pandemic response in low capacitated primary health care settings