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SARS-CoV-2 Antibodies for 6 Percent of Frontline Health Care Personnel

Seroprevalence lower for HCP who reported always wearing a face covering while caring for patients

TUESDAY, Sept. 1, 2020 (HealthDay News) — Six percent of health care personnel (HCP) caring for patients with COVID-19 have positive test results for severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) antibodies, according to research published in the Aug. 31 early-release issue of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

Wesley H. Self, M.D., from the Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tennessee, and colleagues examined the prevalence of and factors associated with SARS-CoV-2 infection among frontline HCP who care for COVID-19 patients. Serum specimens were collected from HCP who worked with COVID-19 patients at 13 geographically diverse U.S. academic medical centers. Participants were queried about potential COVID-19 symptoms experienced since Feb. 1, 2020, and their use of personal protective equipment (PPE).

The researchers found that 6.0 percent of the 3,248 participants had positive test results for SARS-CoV-2 antibodies. There was variation noted in seroprevalence by hospital, from 0.8 to 31.2 percent (median, 3.6 percent). Of the 194 seropositive participants, 29, 44, and 69 percent reported no symptoms since Feb. 1, 2020, did not believe that they previously had COVID-19, and did not report a previous COVID-19 diagnosis, respectively. Persons who reported always wearing a face covering while caring for patients had lower seroprevalence than those who did not (5.6 versus 9.0 percent).

“These findings highlight the importance of maintaining PPE supplies at hospitals caring for COVID-19 patients and, assuming adequate supply, adhering to policies that encourage the use of masks for all interactions between HCP and patients,” the authors write.

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