Problem: After Italy's first national restriction measures in 2020, a robust approach was needed to monitor the emerging epidemic of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) at subnational level and provide data to inform the strengthening or easing of epidemic control measures. Approach: We adapted the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control rapid risk assessment tool by including quantitative and qualitative indicators from existing national surveillance systems. We defined COVID-19 risk as a combination of the probability of uncontrolled transmission of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 and of an unsustainable impact of COVID-19 cases on hospital services, adjusted in relation to the health system's resilience. The monitoring system was implemented with no additional cost in May 2020. Local setting: The infectious diseases surveillance system in Italy uses consistent data collection methods across the country's decentralized regions and autonomous provinces. Relevant changes: Weekly risk assessments using this approach were sustainable in monitoring the epidemic at regional level from 4 May 2020 to 24 September 2021. The tool provided reliable assessments of when and where a rapid increase in demand for health-care services would occur if control or mitigation measures were not increased in the following 3 weeks. Lessons learnt: Although the system worked well, framing the risk assessment tool in a legal decree hampered its flexibility, as indicators could not be changed without changing the law. The relative complexity of the tool, the impossibility of real-time validation and its use for the definition of restrictions posed communication challenges.

COVID-19 response: effectiveness of weekly rapid risk assessments, Italy

Guzzetta, Giorgio;Merler, Stefano;
2022

Abstract

Problem: After Italy's first national restriction measures in 2020, a robust approach was needed to monitor the emerging epidemic of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) at subnational level and provide data to inform the strengthening or easing of epidemic control measures. Approach: We adapted the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control rapid risk assessment tool by including quantitative and qualitative indicators from existing national surveillance systems. We defined COVID-19 risk as a combination of the probability of uncontrolled transmission of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 and of an unsustainable impact of COVID-19 cases on hospital services, adjusted in relation to the health system's resilience. The monitoring system was implemented with no additional cost in May 2020. Local setting: The infectious diseases surveillance system in Italy uses consistent data collection methods across the country's decentralized regions and autonomous provinces. Relevant changes: Weekly risk assessments using this approach were sustainable in monitoring the epidemic at regional level from 4 May 2020 to 24 September 2021. The tool provided reliable assessments of when and where a rapid increase in demand for health-care services would occur if control or mitigation measures were not increased in the following 3 weeks. Lessons learnt: Although the system worked well, framing the risk assessment tool in a legal decree hampered its flexibility, as indicators could not be changed without changing the law. The relative complexity of the tool, the impossibility of real-time validation and its use for the definition of restrictions posed communication challenges.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11582/330652
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