An Integrated Strategy for the Prevention of SARS-CoV-2 Infection in Healthcare Workers: A Prospective Observational Study.Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2020 Aug 10; 17(16)IJ
Since the beginning of SARS-CoV-2 outbreak, a large number of infections have been reported among healthcare workers (HCWs). The aim of this study was to investigate the occurrence of SARS-CoV-2 infection among HCWs involved in the first management of infected patients and to describe the measures adopted to prevent the transmission in the hospital.
This prospective observational study was conducted between February 21 and April 16, 2020, in the Padua University Hospital (north-east Italy). The infection control policy adopted consisted of the following: the creation of the "Advanced Triage" area for the evaluation of SARS-CoV-2 cases, and the implementation of an integrated infection control surveillance system directed to all the healthcare personnel involved in the Advance Triage area. HCWs were regularly tested with nasopharyngeal swabs for SARS-CoV-2; body temperature and suggestive symptoms were evaluated at each duty. Demographic and clinical data of both patients and HCWs were collected and analyzed; HCWs' personal protective equipment (PPE) consumption was also recorded. The efficiency of the control strategy among HCWs was evaluated identifying symptomatic infection (primary endpoint) and asymptomatic infection (secondary endpoint) with confirmed detection of SARS-CoV-2.
7595 patients were evaluated in the Advanced Triage area: 5.2% resulted positive and 72.4% was symptomatic. The HCW team was composed of 60 members. A total of 361 nasopharyngeal swabs were performed on HCWs. All the swabs resulted negative and none of the HCWs reached the primary or the secondary endpoint.
An integrated hospital infection control strategy, consisting of dedicated areas for infected patients, strict measures for PPE use and mass surveillance, is successful to prevent infection among HCWs.