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Impact of COVID-19 on hospital-acquired infections. Hospitals' reliance on agency nurses during the COVID-19 pandemic affected the rates of hospital-acquired infections, according to a study conducted at an 894-bed urban academic hospital and a 159-bed suburban hospital and published March 6 online in the American Journal of Infection Control. While RN overtime hours dropped (from 372 to 273) during the pandemic, there was a statistically significant increase in agency hours (from 138 to 204), with agency hours representing 46% of premium pay compared to just 25% prior to the pandemic. The researchers found a significant increase in infections overall and, specifically, in central line-associated bloodstream infections and catheter-associated urinary tract infections. Notably, the increased rates of infection were associated with premium pay hours-the combined total of agency and overtime hours. For every 1% increase in premium pay hours there were 0.13 total hospital-acquired infections, almost double the effect pre-COVID when a 1% increase in premium pay hours resulted in 0.077 total hospital-acquired infections.