Healthcare personnel who care for patients with COVID-19 are at risk for exposure and infection during patient-care related activities and once infected, can spread SARS-CoV-2 to other patients, coworkers and others in the community.
In a recent study published on the CDC.gov website, 3,248 health care personnel were observed, 6% had antibody evidence of previous SARS-CoV-2 infection, 29% with SARS-CoV-2 antibodies were asymptomatic in the preceding months and 69% had not previously received a diagnosis of SARS-CoV-2 infection. Prevalence of SARS-CoV-2 antibodies were lower among personnel who reported ALWAYS wearing a face covering while caring for patients (6%) compared with those who did not (9%).
What are the implications for public health practice? A high proportion of SARS-CoV-2 infections among health care personnel appear to go undetected. Universal use of face coverings and lowering clinical thresholds for testing could be important strategies for reducing hospital transmission.
Stop, think, and follow current guidance – facemasks are important and continue to prove effective in controlling the spread of infection. Be sure your staff and residents are using PPE appropriately and they respect this virus as it continues to wreak havoc in our communities, and we aren’t “home” yet! Stay well, stay safe, and stay tuned!