(HealthDay News) — Surveillance data sources and indicators will support monitoring the impact of COVID-19 after expiration of the U.S. COVID-19 public health emergency declaration on May 11, according to two articles published in the May 5 early-release issue of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.
Heather M. Scobie, Ph.D., from the CDC in Atlanta, and colleagues examined national COVID-19 surveillance data sources and indicators in anticipation of the transition of public health surveillance data to other data sources or discontinuation, coinciding with expiration of the U.S. COVID-19 public health emergency declaration. The authors note that COVID-19 hospital admission rates from the National Healthcare Safety Network lagged one day behind case rates and four days behind percentages of positive test results and COVID-19 emergency department visits from the National Syndromic Surveillance Program during April 2022 to March 2023. National Vital Statistics System (NVSS) trends in the percentage of COVID-19-associated deaths were seen 13 days earlier than those from the aggregate death count, which will be discontinued. Strong correlations were observed between NVSS and aggregate death data and between the percentage of positive severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) test results and COVID-19 electronic laboratory reporting during October 2020 to March 2023. Levels of COVID-19 hospital admissions will replace weekly COVID-19 Community Levels, which demonstrated >99 percent concordance by county during February 2022 to March 2023.
Benjamin J. Silk, Ph.D., also from the CDC, and colleagues note that COVID-19-associated hospital admission levels will be the main indicator of COVID-19 trends to help guide community and personal decisions relating to risk and prevention behaviors after expiration of the public health emergency. The primary indicator used to monitor COVID-19 mortality will be the percentage of COVID-19-associated deaths among all reported deaths, based on provisional death certificate data. Early changes in trends will be detected based on emergency department visits with a COVID-19 diagnosis and the percentage of positive SARS-CoV-2 test results.
“Monitoring the impact of COVID-19 and the effectiveness of prevention and control strategies continues to be a public health priority during the transition from the emergency phase of the COVID-19 response to routine public health practice,” Silk and colleagues write.