Sentinel surveillance, viral shedding, clinical characteristics and outcomes of confirmed and suspected hospitalized cases of COVID-19/SARS-CoV-2 infection in the Canadian Immunization Research Network (CIRN) Serious Outcomes Surveillance Network
The Canadian Immunization Research Network’s (CIRN) Serious Outcomes Surveillance (SOS) Network has been conducting influenza surveillance in Canadian hospitals for the past decade. Currently, the SOS Network includes hospitals across five provinces, representing more than 6,000 inpatient beds. The SOS network is now in a position to contribute to Canada’s public health response to the COVID‑19 pandemic. Adult patients who are admitted to SOS Network hospitals with suspected COVID‑19 illness will be tested for the novel coronavirus as part of their usual care. Patients with confirmed COVID‑19 will be enrolled in the surveillance study, meaning that key data about their health will be collected, such as age, sex, chronic conditions, frailty, and COVID‑19 risk factors such as travel and contact history. Their health outcomes will be tracked, including the need for treatments such as oxygen therapy, breathing tubes, admission to Intensive Care Units, and survival. A subset of patients will be invited to volunteer for repeated swab testing during the course of their illness to help understand how long people are potentially infectious. All of these efforts will help inform the Public Health Agency of Canada and the scientific community about COVID‑19 in Canada and contribute to global efforts to manage this pandemic.