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Transmission risk of SARS-CoV-2 to healthcare workers -observational results of a primary care hospital contact tracing.
Swiss Med Wkly. 2020 04 20; 150:w20257.SM

Abstract

BACKGROUND

The coronavirus disease (COVID)-19 epidemic is evolving rapidly. Healthcare workers are at increased risk for infection, and specific requirements for their protection are advisable to ensure the functioning of the basic healthcare system, including the availability of general practitioners (GPs). Understanding the transmission risk is particularly important for guiding evidence-based protective measures in the primary healthcare setting.

METHODS

Healthcare worker contacts of an initially undiagnosed COVID-19 case, who were without personal protective equipment, in particular not wearing facemasks, were screened with nasopharyngeal swabs and polymerase chain reaction tests for severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), irrespective of respiratory symptoms or fever seven days after initial contact. The details of exposure to the index case were obtained during routine contact investigation after unintentional pathogen exposure.

RESULTS

Twenty-one healthcare workers reported contacts with the index case. Three healthcare workers reported respiratory symptoms (cough) or low-grade fever within 4 days. None of them tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 at the time of symptom onset. All 21 healthcare workers tested SARS-CoV-2 negative 7 days after initial index case contact, including the three healthcare workers with previous symptoms. Ten of the 21 healthcare workers reported a cumulative exposure time of >15 minutes. Longer cumulative contact times were associated with more individual contacts, reduced contact time per contact and activities with physical patient contact. The closest relative of the index patient tested SARS-CoV-2 positive 2 days after the index case presented at the hospital emergency department.

CONCLUSION

We found a low risk of SARS-CoV-2 transmission in a primary care setting. These findings are compatible with previous reports of the highest transmission probability in household settings with prolonged close contacts. The current protective measures for healthcare workers, including strict adherence to basic standard hygiene and facemasks, offer considerable protection during short periods of contact with symptomatic COVID-19 cases by diminishing the risk of direct and indirect transmission.

Authors+Show Affiliations

Department of Internal Medicine, Regional Hospital Dornach, Switzerland.Department of Internal Medicine, Regional Hospital Dornach, Switzerland.Department of Internal Medicine, Infectious Diseases and Hospital Epidemiology, Cantonal Hospital Olten, Switzerland.Department of Internal Medicine, Regional Hospital Dornach, Switzerland.Gesundheitsamt, Kanton Solothurn, Solothurn, Switzerland / Institute of Social and Preventive Medicine, University of Bern, Switzerland.Department of Internal Medicine, Regional Hospital Dornach, Switzerland.Department of Internal Medicine, Infectious Diseases and Hospital Epidemiology, Cantonal Hospital Olten, Switzerland.

Pub Type(s)

Case Reports
Journal Article

Language

eng

PubMed ID

32333603

Citation

Canova, Vera, et al. "Transmission Risk of SARS-CoV-2 to Healthcare Workers -observational Results of a Primary Care Hospital Contact Tracing." Swiss Medical Weekly, vol. 150, 2020, pp. w20257.
Canova V, Lederer Schläpfer H, Piso RJ, et al. Transmission risk of SARS-CoV-2 to healthcare workers -observational results of a primary care hospital contact tracing. Swiss Med Wkly. 2020;150:w20257.
Canova, V., Lederer Schläpfer, H., Piso, R. J., Droll, A., Fenner, L., Hoffmann, T., & Hoffmann, M. (2020). Transmission risk of SARS-CoV-2 to healthcare workers -observational results of a primary care hospital contact tracing. Swiss Medical Weekly, 150, w20257. https://doi.org/10.4414/smw.2020.20257
Canova V, et al. Transmission Risk of SARS-CoV-2 to Healthcare Workers -observational Results of a Primary Care Hospital Contact Tracing. Swiss Med Wkly. 2020 04 20;150:w20257. PubMed PMID: 32333603.
* Article titles in AMA citation format should be in sentence-case
TY - JOUR T1 - Transmission risk of SARS-CoV-2 to healthcare workers -observational results of a primary care hospital contact tracing. AU - Canova,Vera, AU - Lederer Schläpfer,Heidi, AU - Piso,Rein Jan, AU - Droll,Armin, AU - Fenner,Lukas, AU - Hoffmann,Tobias, AU - Hoffmann,Matthias, Y1 - 2020/04/25/ PY - 2020/4/26/entrez PY - 2020/4/26/pubmed PY - 2020/4/30/medline SP - w20257 EP - w20257 JF - Swiss medical weekly JO - Swiss Med Wkly VL - 150 N2 - BACKGROUND: The coronavirus disease (COVID)-19 epidemic is evolving rapidly. Healthcare workers are at increased risk for infection, and specific requirements for their protection are advisable to ensure the functioning of the basic healthcare system, including the availability of general practitioners (GPs). Understanding the transmission risk is particularly important for guiding evidence-based protective measures in the primary healthcare setting. METHODS: Healthcare worker contacts of an initially undiagnosed COVID-19 case, who were without personal protective equipment, in particular not wearing facemasks, were screened with nasopharyngeal swabs and polymerase chain reaction tests for severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), irrespective of respiratory symptoms or fever seven days after initial contact. The details of exposure to the index case were obtained during routine contact investigation after unintentional pathogen exposure. RESULTS: Twenty-one healthcare workers reported contacts with the index case. Three healthcare workers reported respiratory symptoms (cough) or low-grade fever within 4 days. None of them tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 at the time of symptom onset. All 21 healthcare workers tested SARS-CoV-2 negative 7 days after initial index case contact, including the three healthcare workers with previous symptoms. Ten of the 21 healthcare workers reported a cumulative exposure time of >15 minutes. Longer cumulative contact times were associated with more individual contacts, reduced contact time per contact and activities with physical patient contact. The closest relative of the index patient tested SARS-CoV-2 positive 2 days after the index case presented at the hospital emergency department. CONCLUSION: We found a low risk of SARS-CoV-2 transmission in a primary care setting. These findings are compatible with previous reports of the highest transmission probability in household settings with prolonged close contacts. The current protective measures for healthcare workers, including strict adherence to basic standard hygiene and facemasks, offer considerable protection during short periods of contact with symptomatic COVID-19 cases by diminishing the risk of direct and indirect transmission. SN - 1424-3997 UR - https://www.unboundmedicine.com/medline/citation/32333603/Transmission_risk_of_SARS_CoV_2_to_healthcare_workers__observational_results_of_a_primary_care_hospital_contact_tracing_ L2 - https://doi.emh.ch/10.4414/smw.2020.20257 DB - PRIME DP - Unbound Medicine ER -